Council repairs to be brought in-house

Last night (13 March), Southwark Council’s cabinet reaffirmed its commitment to bring its housing repairs service in house, in order to drive up standards and ensure a consistent approach to repairs for the benefit of tenants.

In a climate where outsourcing services has been shown to carry significant risk to services, Southwark Council is leading the way in reversing the trend by bringing many of its services back in-house such as its ICT, customer services and now housing repairs.

Councillor Stephanie Cryan, Deputy Leader and cabinet member for housing, said: “We strive to provide the very best housing service for residents. Past experience in Southwark of service delivery by large external contractors has been variable and contractors often struggle to meet the council’s performance targets.

“We know we can more closely monitor our services when they are delivered by ourselves and this approach feeds into our objective of creating ‘One Council’ – where we always put residents at the heart of what we do.”

The in-house service will also allow the council to grow its own workforce – another key ambition we have for our young people, in a borough with an already highly successful apprenticeship programme.

Cllr Cryan adds, “We want to build on our opportunity to work with local suppliers and provide jobs with the council with good career progression.”

As well as improving services the move should enable the council to redirect expenditure from contract administration to service delivery, improving value for money for tenants.

The current working arrangement with Mears will end in October 2018.  During the transition to an in-house provision, the council will work to ensure the service is maintained and tenants should not notice any difference if they need to order a repair. The council will ensure that all personnel policies are strictly followed in order to protect existing staff. Mears staff will be ‘TUPE’ transferred to the council in October.

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