Council unveil proposals to shake up housing repairs and maintenance services from 2020

2 August 2019

Written by: Lambeth Council

Housing and planning

Lambeth council is planning to overhaul its housing repair, cleaning and major works contracts in consultation with residents which will radically re-shape its services to improve quality, value and performance.

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Council unveil proposals to shake up housing repairs and maintenance services from 2020

The proposals would apply to 16 contracts which all end in 2020 and which cover a range of services to council tenants, leaseholders and other residents.

They include major works, which has seen around £500m spent on improving almost 23,000 homes improved since 2011 (with another 5,000 planned in the next year), day-to-day repairs which carries out around 70,000 repairs a year, estate cleaning, lift maintenance and door entry systems. This work has dramatically benefited residents who’ve received new bathrooms and kitchens, work to their buildings and other improvements.

These works are all currently carried out by external firms, but the council is proposing changes that will see a radical shift in who delivers these services and how they will operate.

Proposals

Proposals published by the council includes plans to:

  • Create a small, specialist in-house maintenance team to focus on communal repairs following a report from a resident task and finish group which recommended a greater priority is given to communal repairs in council blocks and properties. This insourced service will be the first of its kind created by the council in decades and will focus on employing local residents as part of its recruitment drive.
  • Our award winning in-house Lambeth Landscapes team will take over maintaining our estate green spaces.
  • Major changes to how future contracts are monitored and managed, including a contract monitoring panel that sits in public playing a role in holding contractors to account to ensure that residents receive the highest levels of service.
  • Through the council’s newly adopted Responsible Procurement Policy, the council will ensure there are locally-sourced apprenticeships, carbon savings as part of Lambeth’s plans to become carbon neutral by 2030 and ensuring all contractors pay the London Living Wage.

‘Improvements’

Cllr Paul Gadsby, Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Our housing services have delivered a great deal in the past decade, including upgrading 23,000 council homes as part of the Lambeth Housing Standard and doing the day-to-day business of maintaining and repairing our council, freeholder, sheltered and other properties.

“However, with our current contracts coming to an end this is time to take stock, recognise what we have done well, but also learn from our residents’ feedback about where improvements need to be made.

“That is why these new proposals will result in an end to the status quo and bring in new arrangements. We will be creating the first in-house maintenance and repairs team to focus on communal repairs following an outstanding report from a resident-led task and finish group that suggested a dedicated emphasis was needed on this area.

“Where contracts are put out to tender, we will be listening to feedback from residents and radically overhauling the way they operate to put residents at the centre of their work. We will be creating a residents monitoring board to keep track on performance, increasing post work inspections and strengthening provisions that allow us to terminate contracts if they are not up to scratch.

“We’ll be working with residents on developing our proposals going forward, which will include expanding our Procurement panel of residents, which has already made a valuable contribution to the work conducted so far. There is potential for the council to do provide more of the services ourselves and to make sure contracts tie into our values so that the whole community can benefit.”

Borough Plan

The review supports Lambeth’s Borough Plan outcome of improving the quality of housing in the borough and reducing inequalities in education, skills and employment – and ensuring more residents are paid at least the London Living Wage.

For more information please read the following report – moderngov.lambeth.gov.uk