Residents across Stoke-on-Trent are receiving a greater value-for-money service for home repairs following a successful trial.
It follows changes to the housing maintenance contract between the city council and Kier Stoke that has seen a move from a set price list for jobs to a scheme based on time and resources used.
The changes are now expected to be signed off by the city council’s cabinet following recommendations from the Adult and Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
The pilot programme was first rolled out in the centre of the city from August 2010 before a wider test across the rest of the city in February 2011.
Since adopting the new approach the key successes include:
• Average price per job reduced from £85 in October 2010 to £60 in April 2012
• 97.5% of repairs stay fixed
• Call waiting times reduced from eight minutes to 20 seconds
• End-to-end completion (from reporting to completion) is now 3.8 days
• Call talk time reduced from 12 minutes to four minutes
• Customer satisfaction at 99%.
Examples of satisfied customers include:
• Ms Simms, of Laski Crescent in Meir, called to report a seal to her wash basin had become worn and that her toilet leaked occasionally. Within a day the work had been assessed and repaired. During the visit the technician also noticed other work that needed doing and arranged for this to be done over a couple of days that followed, at Ms Simms’ convenience.
Ms Simms said: “They (the workmen) came to my property to complete some minor jobs. However, when removing the old worktops many of my old tiles came away, nothing was too much trouble for them and they replaced the tiles for me, treating me with the upmost respect. They were extremely professional and they protected all of my personal items. I am extremely grateful for the work they have done for me. They have turned out such fantastic and high quality work and I would most definitely be happy to have them back at a later date if any work needed to be carried out at my property.”
• Mr Stephen Tunstall, of Uplands Road in Abbey Hulton, rang in to report three repairs needed at his property including kitchen unit repairs, front door seals and securing a boundary wall between two properties. Mr Tunstall gave a day when he would be free and the repairs were completed within the day. He scored the workmen 10 out of 10 on the customer feedback and said that he was “very pleased”.
Councillor Paul Shotton deputy leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “We are working closely with Kier Stoke to ensure that the best value-for-money service is provided to residents of the city.
“The council’s contract with Kier includes provisions that require them to secure continuous improvements in the way the service is delivered and our trial has proved that the change in our payment plan achieves this.
“Customers feedback forms have shown that satisfaction for the work carried out rates at 9.8 out of 10 and on average the price per job has dropped by about £25. In the current climate where we have to find savings in all services plans like this are a welcome relief and allow us to use resources elsewhere within the city.”
Richard Wall, head of operations at Kier, said: “The council and Kier Stoke have worked closely together to improve the repairs service provided to residents. Developing innovative and efficient ways of working has allowed us to not only reduce our operating costs, but also to pass these savings on to the council, savings which can be reinvested back in to properties. This partnership approach allows opportunities for improvement to be identified, ensuring that value for money can be demonstrated for the services Kier provides.”
The current system with Kier sees Stoke-on-Trent City Council paying for work from a Schedule of Rates (SOR). The new system will mean that the council only pays for the actual time and materials used to complete a job.
The contract, awarded in February 2008, was for a ten-year period with the option to extend for a further five years.
The council has approximately 19,000 homes on its books. There are between 350 and 500 repairs reported each day.
Case studies can be contacted through the press office and may be available for interview at their convenience.
For all media enquiries contact Steven Kennedy in the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782