"An integrated Housing & Repairs service delivers improved satisfaction levels from 80% to 99%, Performance Improvements, high levels of employee satisfaction & highest DLO surplus"
A Council in South Yorkshire wanted to move away from the traditional separation of housing and repairs delivery towards an integrated neighbourhood management model where a single manager would be accountable for all aspects of service delivery within a defined locality.
Richard was given the role of developing, delivering and managing this change for an area comprising approximately 7,000 properties, followed by a roll out to over 21,000 properties across the Borough if successful.
Fundamental to the assignment was a change in culture away from the DLO team and the Housing team blaming each other and instead placing the customer experience at the centre of service delivery. This was achieved by involving the teams in designing and setting the objectives and then working together through co-location, joint meetings and team building events to consider the barriers to success, think the unthinkable and in essence design a brand new service delivery model.
DLO bonus payments were abolished, multi-skilling was rolled out, financial accountability was placed with the individuals who were responsible for service delivery and performance frameworks were re-engineered to form a balanced scorecard approach linked to the project objectives. Housing Officers were given patch accountability. Repairs Operatives were empowered to make decisions that were in line with project objectives, facilitating the move away from a hard client/contractor split and freeing up Technical Officers to address larger scale problems without the administrative bind of approving low level variations.
Wider partnerships were formed between Housing and Repairs team leaders to address neighbourhood issues, share resources and spread risk. As a simple example, graffiti was a significant issue. The local community partnership purchased a graffiti removal machine, but had nobody to operate it. The local street cleaning service had people to remove graffiti, but only one machine for the Borough and no vehicles to tow it. The local Housing/Repairs service had vehicles and caretakers, but no machine. The Repairs service donated the vehicle, the community partnership contributed the machine and the street cleaning service provided the manpower. A dedicated graffiti busting service was established which removed all graffiti within 24 hours from any building within the area. The Caretakers were freed up to undertake other tasks, aesthetically the area improved in a short space of time, repairs costs reduced as the "broken window" effect was eliminated along with vandalism and most importantly, trust and partnership work was strengthened to go on to deliver much more.