Achieving and maintaining 100% compliance with gas safety all the time, is something of a holy grail for housing providers. Many achieve or get very close to it on occasions, but few are able to maintain 100% compliance week in week out. At Harvest Housing Group we work with 3 gas partners covering 18,000 properties, and have been extremely successful in delivering 100% compliance over a sustained period of time. We believe our partnerships with PH Jones, AFM and Holdscroft, the innovation we have implemented and the pro-active approach we have embedded throughout our organisation make our contract for gas servicing and breakdown one of the best managed external contracts in the sector.
Frank Haslam Milan (FHM) was appointed by Gedling Homes in 2008 to deliver an £18 million Decent Homes Programme. Not only has the delivery of the programme been very successful with high levels of customer satisfaction but a significant number of wider community benefits have been delivered including the recruitment of apprentices, working within local schools, supporting local curriculum activity and embedding of various green initiatives within contract delivery. This has put Gedling Homes and FHM at the forefront in delivering successful joined up partnership initiatives within the local community. The project has also provided significant challenges in work content. This has been met head on by the partnering team by ensuring that client and customers are at the heart of the decision making process and this has reaped many benefits by embedding a joined up inclusive partnering approach.
Gedling Homes appointed Morrison to deliver its responsive maintenance service in April 2010. This was following the creation of the Gedling Homes in November 2008. The repairs service suffered significantly during the time of transfer and a survey of satisfaction in January 2009 resulted in only 63% of customers being happy with the service. Through solid partnership working customer satisfaction levels for the service are now hitting between 95% and 97% and Right 1st Time is currently running at 98%. This partnership has shown how organisations with shared goals can work together to transform a poorly performing repairs service in just over 12 months. The partnership forged between Morrison and Gedling Homes has reaped many positives for customers and alongside this is now supporting a number of community initiatives throughout the borough of Gedling.
Gedling Homes appointed Bullock Construction in 2011 to undertake a £9 million 3 year external works programme. The project covered external works, environmental works plus the extensive refurbishment of a number of non traditional properties over a large geographical area and as a result the successful project management of the programme was paramount. As part of the mobilisation process one of the options considered was real time data capture and exchange between the delivery team and the end user. Following an in depth review of the pilot project an on-line cloud storage system (Buzzsaw) was implemented. This involved the delivery team having access to iPad2's that allowed the transfer and use of real time data with staff and customers, including latest surveys & specifications, photographs and the capture of customer satisfaction upon project completion. This enabled progress and performance KPIs to be monitored in real time. Residents could view photos illustrating the work to be done and the options they could choose from.
The debate on delivering your maintenance service in-house or using external partner shas become a particularly important one.. The rise in VAT has prompted many organisations to consider bringing their repairs in-house. In a recent report Mike Jones of HQN stated "that since the increase in VAT, 16 organisations had either brought the service, or were planning to bring the service back in-house by the end of this year, with many more to follow in 2012". There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but why compromise when there is a third way that delivers the best of both. Harvest Housing Group established a joint employment initiative with Cruden and PH Jones in November 2007. The workforce is jointly employed by Harvest and the service provider; customer service benefits have been significant; access to contractor expertise is still there, and the potential savings on VAT are the icing on the cake!
The maintenance partnership between Dartford Borough Council and Breyer Group places residents at the forefront of decision making and has innovation stamped throughout. Here resident's voices were firmly rooted even from the outset as they took part in formulating the initial tender. The views and needs of residents have been sowed into the very fabric of the partnership, ensuring their voices are enshrined for the duration of the contract. In April 2010 the planned maintenance and responsive repairs contract was awarded to Breyer B Line, a division of the Breyer Group. This 7 year £6m contract is to provide maintenance and repairs to Dartford Borough Council's stock of 4,400 homes, 370 leasehold homes and 1,300 garages. Breyer and Dartford were keen to adopt a gradualist approach, giving the relationship time to develop. This stepped way of working is different to many traditional "partnerships".
Two years ago Shepherds Bush Housing Group took the rare step of setting up a joint venture (Domus) with our maintenance company (CMS). Domus is 51% owned by SBHG, 49% by CMS. Its 50 staff are part of SBHG and benefit from our culture and training (IIP Champion status) giving us a highly skilled, motivated team. Cost savings last year of £250,000 were re-invested in life-enhancing services for some of our most vulnerable residents. Improvements include real time information on repair progress using PDAs, a reliable appointment system booked when the repair is reported, text and phone to remind people when the operative will arrive, repairs desk open 8.00 am to 10.00 pm 7 days a week with email and on-line repairs reporting also available, and an effective CRM system to tailor services to the needs of individual customers. This year satisfaction with repairs hit 97%, making it among the highest in the country. Domus delivers even more ambitious goals as we sell its service to others which reduces overheads and offers our residents even greater value for money. In the past year this has paid for ten additional kitchen and bathrooms and allowed us to continue our home adaptation work for our most vulnerable residents.
Orbit South entered into Partnership with MITIE Property Services Limited in April 2011 for the provision of Reactive Maintenance & Improvements (RMI Partnership) delivering services to over 15,000 homes across East Anglia and the South East. The partnership includes a number of innovative working practices and community benefits including price per property model, mobile working, apprenticeship opportunities for residents and funding from MITIE for investment projects to improve local community facilities. The partnership term initially for 10 years has an option to extend for a further 5 years, the estimated annual value is £15 million with cost savings of aroun13.5%. Although this is a relatively new partnership we believe the development and performance to date demonstrates the strategy and infrastructure of the partnership represents best practice.