The property services company will additionally undertake day-to-day repairs for tenants with a view to proactively identifying and fixing issues before they become more expensive to repair. The contract will also involve Ian Williams in bringing empty properties up to standard before they are re-let.
East Devon owns a range of houses, flats and bungalows which supply affordable social housing for local people.
Against the backdrop of tightening financial constraints on local authorities across the United Kingdom, the council has carried out a root and branch review of how it looks after its properties to ensure tenants’ homes are safe, affordable, and of high quality. Over the last 18 months, it has developed a new service to meet the needs of tenants by improving its housing stock.
Ian Williams was awarded the contract which includes multiple key performance indicators (KPI), including procedures to test resident satisfaction, following a comprehensive selection process.
Announcing the new partnership, Councillor Megan Armstrong, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for Sustainable Homes and Communities, said:
"Our residents and the council’s Housing Review Board have been fully involved with the tendering process to ensure that this new service is what they want and what we, as landlords, need to have in place so that our housing stock continues to be in an excellent condition.
"This service is unique as it will encompass a complete housing maintenance programme from internal and external repairs to the planned upgrading of bathrooms and kitchens. Ian Williams Ltd has an excellent national reputation for providing first class services such as this and we’re delighted to be working with them.
"A good quality, affordable home and resident safety is a priority for the council, and this new partnership provides the confidence that we can improve what is already a high performing property maintenance service for the benefit of our residents."
Council tenant, Peter Sullivan, who was involved in the appointment process, added:
"The council has ensured resident involvement throughout. This began with the opportunity for us to tell the council what we thought was good and not so good about the current service we receive. Residents also played a key part of the selection process with opportunities for us to question the contractors directly alongside the officers.
"I am pleased to have been part of these exciting changes and look forward to watching the new service develop over the coming months."
Discussing the contract, Craig Jones, Ian Williams’ General Manager who will oversee its mobilisation next month, said:
"Ian Williams has long recognised the benefits of strategic, long term partnerships and fully endorses the business philosophy and solid relationships that this approach engenders. This ten-year integrated asset management partnership with EDDC will enable both organisations to focus on the effective delivery of services, by recognising and working towards shared goals and objectives. In any commercial arrangement, the strength of success lies in creating a good team who are happy to work well together, and we look forward to working closely with EDDC to help create excellent customer service, provide quality workmanship and instigate a responsive culture based on innovative technology.
"We operate nationally across the United Kingdom and also maintain a strong presence and heritage in the South West, so our teams are perfectly placed to have a true understanding of the challenges of operating across the rural communities in East Devon. To this end, we’ve invested in a new office in Exeter and all our services will be supported by Ian Williams’ proprietary iwsys technology which will provide seamless IT integration and fast access to asset data. This will also help us meet EDDC’s objectives to turn around empty homes efficiently so that new tenants can move in as quickly as possible."
Mike Turner, Ian Williams Executive Director, added:
"Providing modernisation and maintenance services for social housing providers has been at our core since we were established in 1946. Over recent years, our directly employed teams have provided innovative responsive, planned and void services for high profile housing clients.
"This means we have a lot of experience and understand our unique responsibility to be respectful and understanding when working in people’s homes. Backed up by formal Equality and Diversity training, we’ve developed a unique awareness of what we need to provide to deliver outstanding levels of service for residents and communities, especially when we’re working in homes of more vulnerable or older people. We are proud and delighted to have been awarded this contract with EDDC and look forward to working closely with individuals and communities in East Devon to prove our commitment to second-to-none customer service, resident satisfaction and community engagement.”