Cabinet approves in-house provision of housing repairs
At the Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday 1 July, the Council’s Cabinet approved a programme to bring the council’s housing major repairs services in-house, with the added support of a specialist supply chain.
“In Camden we believe in the necessity and ability of the council to improve the lives of all our residents and our vision for a fairer, more inclusive borough.
“Delivering this vision includes the development of local public services, and providing services directly where this represents value for money to our residents.
“We maintain a large housing stock which we have always managed directly. We have recently grown the in house repairs team with repairs in the Holborn district and our facilities management services coming in house in 2019. Next year we will start to deliver the larger major repairs directly to our homes so that we can provide a comprehensive and high-quality service.”
Since 2013, major repairs to Council homes in Camden have been delivered through an outsourced borough-wide contract. It has now been agreed that this provision is bought in house under the direct control of the in house repairs team with support from a specialist supply chain.
Councillor Meric Apak continued:
“Our new approach ensures the best fit with our property management team, with all types of repair being delivered by one team.
“This approach is designed to build our capacity in house and therefore deliver more work directly. This will also make best use of our current assets and management structure, making the service more cost effective and therefore saving the council and its residents’ money.”
The repairs team is fully supported by the council’s new dedicated property customer services and engagement team that handles all residents’ calls and casework management for repairs.
This team has already made significant improvements in call response times and the management of and learning from casework and complaints, putting the experience of its residents at the forefront of its considerations, making sure that as it expands its activity it manages the pace of change so that it has the skills, capacity and infrastructure to do so.
The agreed supply chain contracts will also provide the in house team with the support it needs while it expands its activity by ensuring that agreed areas of specialist work including: fire safety, scaffolding, asbestos surveys and removal, specialist Occupational Therapy adaptations and making sure peaks of demand are responded to quickly and for the best value.
Under the agreed approach the turnover of the in house repair team is expected to climb to £24.6m by 2025/26, compared to the £15.7m projected for 2021/22.
Councillor Meric Apak continued:
“Our new approach anticipates a saving of £6m over a five year period when compared to a continuation of the previous service structure.
“This move however is not just about saving money. We strongly believe that we can achieve social value through this process to create community and infrastructure benefits as well as opportunities for our residents.
“We will require those companies who tender to be part of our supply chain to fully demonstrate the social value that they will bring to Camden, through areas such as apprenticeship and training opportunities, engaging small and medium-sized companies and local suppliers and supporting our priorities such as the STEAM Commission and work placements for people with special educational needs and disabilities.”
The Council will now engage with its residents through groups including District Management Committees (DMCs), Leaseholders’ Forum and the Camden Association of Street Properties on how the new arrangements will work in practice, how it will secure best value and how it can improve the experience of the service for residents.
The Council will also investigate how residents can be involved in the appointment of suppliers, as well as undertaking a formal leaseholder consultation.
The results of this work will be fully considered before the awarding of any relevant contracts.
It is planned to start the engagement and consultation with residents and leaseholders in August of this year, with the new service contracts in place for April 2021.