Changes to the delivery of repairs, maintenance and improvement services for council housing from 1 April 2020 were agreed at a special Housing & New Homes Committee on 26 September 2018 and the council’s Policy, Resources & Growth Committee on 11 October 2018.

The changes include bringing responsive repairs and empty property services in-house following the end of the partnership contract with Mears, which comes to an end on 31 March 2020.

We consulted tenants, leaseholders and other stakeholders about their experiences and the focus of the future services, as well as working with staff and councillors to develop the options. The feedback set out several key objectives for the services, including

  • excellent customer service
  • the ability to self-serve
  • a strong focus on maintaining existing assets
  • a clear demonstration of value for money
  • added economic, social and environmental benefits for the city

The agreed plans for the future delivery of the services are to:

  • deliver customer service and quality assurance services in-house
  • perform responsive repairs and empty property refurbishment works to council housing through an in-house team 
  • set up at least one contract to provide planned maintenance and improvement programmes
  • set up a multi-contractor framework agreement for major capital projects
  • continue to deliver specialist work (such as lifts and adaptations) through individual contracts

We are working on developing new contracts for planned maintenance and improvement programmes, setting up a framework for major capital projects and establishing in-house services to deliver customer service, quality assurance and our responsive repairs and empty properties service.

Since it was introduced in 2010, the partnership contract with Mears has allowed us to bring all council homes up to the government’s Decent Homes Standard and delivered savings for the council. The partnership also delivers excellent levels of customer service for our residents.

The council and Mears are committed to delivering great service to our residents over the remaining time of the partnership. We will be working together to ensure that the transition period is as smooth as possible for residents and staff.

Key points

  • To report a repair after 1 April 2020, you will still call the same freephone number 0800 052 6140 or, if calling from a mobile, 01273 294409.
  • Vans will be council-branded and all staff will carry identity cards.
  • We’ll still be setting up contracts for ‘specialist’ services such as asbestos management, larger repairs, drainage, glazing repairs and scaffolding. We estimate that 20% of responsive repairs and 50% of empty property work will be sub-contracted.
  • We will continue to deliver a similar level of apprenticeships as we do now. We’re also planning to offer apprenticeships and learning opportunities for supervisors, quality assurance and other staff. We will be seeking apprenticeships through the planned maintenance and improvement programmes and major capital projects. This will be delivered as part of the social value requirements in the proposed contracts.

Planned maintenance and improvement programmes

Contracts for the below programmes will be split into ‘lots’ and delivered through several contracts directly managed by the council.

  • Kitchen and bathroom replacements
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • External and internal repairs and decorations
  • Rewiring
  • Roof replacements

We will publish details of the contractors once the contracts are agreed. 

We believe these competitively-procured long term agreement contracts will offer the best value for money for the council and leaseholders and should provide opportunities for small and medium-sized local businesses.

Major capital work

Major capital work will be delivered under a multi-contractor ‘framework agreement’. This means that we will work directly with a number of pre-approved contractors, who will compete for each piece of work as it comes in.

The framework agreement should help us deliver:

  • good value for money, which we’ll test on a project-by-project basis
  • strong relationships with several contractors, leading to a good understanding of requirements and consistent service delivery
  • opportunities for the local suppliers to tender for work
  • sustained performance due to incentives for contractors to remain competitive for the work awarded by mini-competitions 

Once in place, the framework agreement should be a quick and relatively simple process for awarding contracts for projects.

Further information

If you have any further questions about the changes, you can contact the programme team by emailing FutureRepairs@brighton-hove.gov.uk.