Fareham Borough Council has slashed the amount of time its tenants can expect to wait for repairs by a staggering 90% to an average of six days. The dramatic reduction has arisen following an extensive review that considered how the service was delivered at every stage, following the Vanguard* philosophy of looking at the process through the eyes of the customer.
The Council is responsible for repairs and maintenance of 2,371 properties and a portfolio of public buildings, undertaking both planned maintenance projects and a responsive service for its residents.
In recent years, since 2010 in fact, most of the responsive work was completed through a contractor. This meant that, as one of a number of customers, Fareham residents were not necessarily given priority.
In April 2015, following a successful trial, the service was taken in-house. There are now 16 operatives across a variety of trades including electricians, a gas fitter and plasterer.
"The main difference in the way we now work" explains Cllr Seán Woodward, "is that we are treating our customers like the individuals they are. Due to pressure of work some of our customers have very specific times when they can be at home whilst others are able to be more flexible. The approach we take now is to ask our customers when they would like the work undertaken rather than tell them when we can get there. This has been really effective.
"Another issue that was highlighted during the review was that sometimes additional requirements were highlighted by the repair team. There was then a ream of paperwork to be completed before they could return to the property and carry out the new repairs.
"The new way of working has led to 74% of jobs now being completed in a single visit. Tradesmen have vans purpose-equipped with the materials most frequently needed so that, in the event that further repairs prove necessary, they can actually complete the extra work there and then."
*Vanguard Consultancy has been working with Fareham Borough Council to help them review the way they do things by making all services about the customers' needs.
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