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An important update on your repairs service

As part of our ongoing commitment to improve the service we provide, we’ve appointed three new contractors to deliver our voids and repairs service across our three geographic regions from Friday, 1 July.

An important update on your repairs service

Updated: 21 June 2022

A further update June 2022

As part of our ongoing commitment to improve the service we provide, we’ve appointed three new repairs contractors.

From Friday, 1 July, the following contractors will deliver our voids and repairs service
across our three geographic regions – the east, south and west:

  • Morgan Sindall Property Services – east region
  • Fortem Solutions – south region
  • Ian Williams Limited – west region.

You’ll soon receive an information pack in the post, confirming your new contractor and detailing more information about what this means for you.

Before our new contractors start, we’re making some short-term changes to help them prepare, and to prioritise the most urgent jobs.

To ensure the smoothest possible transition, from Thursday, 16 June to Friday, 1 July, we’ll be prioritising emergency repairs and services to our vulnerable customers only.

You’ll be able to report all repairs from Friday, 1 July but our new contractors will need time during the first two weeks to get their operatives in place and trained.

If you report a repair that isn’t classed as an emergency, you’ll still receive an appointment, but it will be booked in from Monday, 11 July onwards.

We really appreciate your ongoing patience, understanding and co-operation.


In-house repairs call handling

As part of these changes, we’re also pleased to announce that we’re bringing repairs call handling in-house, meaning when you call us to report a repair, you’ll be speaking to a Longhurst Group colleague in our Repairs Contact Centre.

Our team will field all customer calls relating to repairs and schedule appointments in a way that suits you, making the process more efficient and, most importantly, delivering a better overall experience for our customers.

Although your contractor has changed, the number you’ll need to call hasn’t. To report a repair to you new contractor from July 1, please call 0300 123 1745, choosing option 1.


FAQs

We appreciate that you may have a few questions about these changes and so we’ve included more information – including answers to some frequently asked questions and exactly what it means for you – below.

Why have you made this change?

Our repairs service has fallen below the standards we expect and that you deserve so we need to reshape how it’s delivered. We’ve appointed three new contractors, each responsible for a different region, and we’re confident this will lead to an improved service.

Will the full service be delivered from day one of the new contract?

We’re still working through a significant backlog of repairs and these may take longer than expected to complete. We appreciate this isn’t ideal and we’re working hard with our current and new contractors to ensure a return to our full service as soon as possible.

How do I report a repair under the new contract?

Although the contractor delivering your repairs service is changing, the way you report your repair to us isn’t – you’ll still call us on 0300 123 1745 and use option 1.

In the future, you’ll be able to report and track your repair with your appointed contractor via an online portal. As soon as this facility is available, we’ll let you know via our website and social media channels.

I’ve got an ongoing repair, what’s happening with that?

As mentioned, for the time being, we’re working through a backlog of repairs and are focussing on completing essential repairs first. The following are considered essential:

  • Electrical faults
  • Leaks or plumbing issues which may affect washing or toilet facilities or may cause further damage to a property
  • No heating or hot water or partial heating loss
  • Broken showers in properties with no other washing facilities
  • Loss of water supplies
  • Security issues affecting doors and windows
  • Blocked drains
  • Storm damage, such as loose roof tiles
  • Making properties safe and secure following serious incidents
  • Where there’s a risk to health or further damage to the property
  • Repairing equipment that a disabled person relies on
  • Damp and mould
  • Trip hazards.

If you have any questions about an ongoing repair or if you feel it’s now more urgent and falls into one of the above categories, please get in touch on 0300 123 1745 or contact us.

What will change under the new contract?

Repairs priorities

Following the introduction of a new ‘Urgent’ category, the new contract will have the following three repair priorities:

Emergency (attended and made safe within four hours)

This is when your health, safety or security is at immediate risk, or the structure of your home could be harmed. Examples include an insecure door or ground floor window and substantial leaks that cannot be isolated or contained. A further routine or urgent repair appointment may be needed to complete any necessary repairs required after your property has been made safe.

Urgent (completed within seven calendar days)

Urgent repairs are where the repair isn’t an immediate risk but needs to be completed as a priority. Examples of urgent repairs include partial loss of electricity and lighting, a tap that cannot be turned on or off, and rodent infestations inside properties and internal communal areas owned by Longhurst Group.

Routine (completed within 28 calendar days)

Issues that don’t put your health, safety or security at risk or cause harm to the structure of your property. Most repairs fall under this category, including repairs to kitchen units, bathrooms, general electrical repairs, plumbing and containable leaks.

There may be instances, due to the complexity of the work or when new parts need to be ordered or made, that mean the repair can’t be completed within the above timescales. If this happens, you’ll always be kept informed.

Appointments

Appointment slots will be Monday to Friday AM (8am to 12noon) and Monday to Friday PM (12noon to 5pm). There’ll also be an ‘Avoid School Run’ option (10am[1]2pm). Appointments won’t be provided for communal repairs but will be completed within the priorities above.

Although this won’t be available from the start of the contract, text message reminders will be sent to you in advance of your appointment. You’ll also be able to track the operative on the day of a visit.

Where further works are required after an initial visit, operatives will leave details of a follow-on appointment. If the initial visit is an out-of-hours emergency, the Planning Team and the contractor will contact you the next working day to arrange a follow-on appointment.

No access

Under the new contract, operatives will make two attempts to access your property to complete a repair. On each attempt, they’ll leave a calling card to let you know they’ve visited.

If they’re unsuccessful on the second attempt, the contractor can refer the job back to us to confirm that the repair doesn’t pose a health and safety risk before approving the cancellation. You’d then have to contact us again to re-book the work.

Call handling

To coincide with the launch of the new contract, we’ll be handling all your repairs calls through our newly established in[1]house Repairs Contact Centre.

We’ve also appointed a new, specialist out-of-hours call handler, called Appello, who handle all emergency repair calls outside our normal office hours (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm).

Will I be able share my views about the new service?

Yes – as ever, we really want to hear your views. Your feedback helped shape this new contract and will continue to inform the service you receive. After all repairs have been completed by the contractor, we’ll send you a satisfaction survey via text message to rate your experience of the service you’ve received. Replies will be charged at your standard network rate. We’ve recently launched a brand-new online engagement platform, called The Hub, where customers can have their say. To get involved, you need to create an account. Keep checking our website for more information.

Additional contractors

As part of our ongoing efforts to improve the service we deliver to you, we’ve also appointed five additional interim contractors from 1 February 2022.

Their appointment will help tackle the outstanding work and ensure our repairs are delivered to the standards that we’d expect.

The new contractors are:

  • Novus Property Solutions LTD
  • T.M. Browne LTD
  • Morgan Sindall Property Services LTD
  • Foster Property Maintenance LTD
  • Matt Fearn Property.

These new contractors have been appointed to help improve our performance in preparation for the handover to our new, permanent contractors on 1 July 2022.

They’ll focus predominately on our void properties and communal repairs, but this may change.

Any of these companies could work anywhere across our geographical area. All operatives will carry a letter of authorisation from Longhurst Group, their own company ID and will always adhere to all current Coronavirus guidance.

If you’re ever unsure about an operative’s authenticity or have any concerns, please call us on 0300 123 1745.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we strive to improve the service we deliver to you.


Heating repairs

All repairs relating to heating, including work on gas boilers, are classed essential and will continue.

Please report any issues you have to our heating contractor, Mears.

  Our heating contract isn’t affected by the issues mentioned on this page.


Dealing with your enquiries

We’re extremely busy dealing with customer queries at the moment and, as a result, it may take us longer than usual to get back to you.

We’ll continue to keep you updated when we can, however, we may not be able to meet the timescales set out in our service standards. We really appreciate your continued patience and apologise for any inconvenience caused. We're confident that the changes we're making will help us to improve the service that you receive in the future.


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