Tamworth Borough Council has awarded new contracts worth more than £100m for the improvement, repair and maintenance of the town’s 4,200+ council houses over the next 10 years.
This significant investment is part of the council’s ongoing commitment to provide a high standard of affordable housing, supported by an efficient repairs and maintenance service, while achieving the best possible value for money.
The council’s current three-year contract with Wates Living Space ends on 31st March 2020, and the new 10-year agreement will be split into two parts.
From 1st April 2020, Wates Living Space will continue to undertake planned works to council houses in the borough, including new kitchens, new bathrooms, external work and any other planned improvement projects. The Wates Living Space contract will be in the region of £50m over the 10 years.
Day-to-day and out of hours emergency repairs, as well as repairs to void properties, aids and adaptations, planned maintenance, annual gas servicing and repairs to other council property, will be undertaken by ENGIE, in a 10-year contract worth around £67m.
Both contracts also have a strong focus on delivering a range of benefits to the wider community to ensure the ongoing work of both ENGIE and Wates has a positive impact on the lives of residents in the area. These include vocational qualifications and apprenticeship opportunities for local people, the provision of digital training courses in construction, and improvements to a council-owned facility such as a play area or community building.
Other activities to be delivered as part of the contract include community DIY workshops, projects to provide enhanced and improved security for vulnerable residents and helping to tackle fuel poverty and causes of damp/condensation.
Alongside the new contracts, the council will be bringing the repairs call centre in-house to improve the overall customer experience. From April, a dedicated repairs line will be managed by specialist repairs call handlers at Tamworth Borough Council during working hours.
The out of hours service will be provided by ENGIE for an initial period of 12 months while the new contracts are embedded. There will be no difference to the way tenants get in touch with the housing repairs service as all contact details will remain the same.
Cllr Michelle Cook, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Housing Services and Communities, said: “Providing decent affordable homes is one of our main priorities and represents a significant proportion of council spending. This means we have to achieve the best value for money possible, while ensuring our housing is of a high standard and that the service we provide to tenants is a good one.
“Wates Living Space and ENGIE were selected after a robust, two-stage procurement process which included external legal and consultative support, interviews involving tenants and detailed assessments of all elements of the bids submitted.
“All submissions were of a high standard and the winning contractors demonstrated an understanding of our needs and instilled confidence in their ability to deliver the service.
“We were also keen to take control of the housing repairs call centre, so that future calls will be received and dealt with by Tamworth Borough Council. We’ll be extending the team to facilitate this so we can drive improvements in call handling, repair diagnostics, and scheduling and importantly, follow up after repairs have been carried out.
“We are now working closely with both contractors to ensure there is a smooth transition in April.”
Martin Smithurst, Chief Operating Officer, Places & Communities, at ENGIE, commented: “Tamworth Council is fully committed to offering the best services to its residents, and ENGIE is delighted to be supporting them in achieving this goal. Working collaboratively we have been able to effectively mobilise this exciting housing repairs project.
“The 10-year scheme will deliver significant support to Tamworth residents, providing safe and desirable accommodation, as well as demonstrating the capability and experience of our team and supply chain to respond to projects of this nature.
“We are extremely pleased to be working once again with Tamworth Council — a partner who so closely shares our core values — and we look forward to a highly successful collaboration going forward.”
David Morgan, Managing Director of Wates Property Services, added: “Having worked with Tamworth Borough Council as their repairs and maintenance service provider for the past three years, our team is extremely proficient in providing a service that is tailored to the needs of residents. This has given us a solid foundation for the coming decade, throughout which we will continue to deliver a high quality and efficient service that helps to improve quality of life for local people.
“The longevity of the contract provides us with an invaluable opportunity to make a meaningful difference to the local community and we look forward to working with our neighbours to provide many opportunities for training and employment within our team.”
Header image shows from left to right: Justin Catton (Head of Operations, ENGIE), Paul Bingham (Regional Director, ENGIE), Cllr Michelle Cook (Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing Services and Communities), Tom Langley (Divisional Director, Wates Living Space).