Quicker repairs promised as housing stock returns to Brent Council
PUBLISHED: 12:57 10 October 2017 | UPDATED: 12:57 10 October 2017
Quicker repairs, more investment in council blocks and new smartphone apps for transactions are being introduced as Brent’s council’s housing stock comes back in-house.
The council housing management services, previously provided by Brent Housing Partnership (BHP) will switch on Monday.
The move comes after BHP, which was set up in 2002, was put in special measures in March last year for its poor performance which is claimed to have left some tenants living in homes in a state of disrepair. It was given six months to improve its performance, but failed.
BHP was axed in November 2016 and the decision made to bring housing management in house.
Since then a 12-week consultation with tenants and leaseholders has resulted in plans for more investment in up-to-date technology, such as a new smartphone app for simple transactions, a “more responsive and flexible repairs service”, and targeted investment in buildings.
Cllr Harbi Farah, lead member for housing at Brent Council, said: “Housing is one of our most important services so it’s great that we’ve been able to bring it back in-house.
“Our tenants and residents can be sure that we’re determined to deliver an excellent service across the board.”
However Cllr Carol Shaw, Conservative vice chair of housing scrutiny committee at Brent Council, added: “I just hope that my tenants and residents in all my housing block receive a far better service than they have been for the last ten years. A lot of existent staff in BHP will be re-employed by Brent Council.
“I will certainly be monitoring the situation.”
Increased communication between housing and other council services to provide a better customer experience, a review of services, and better engagement of tenants and leaseholders in decision making about their homes and estates is also planned.
Tenancies remain the same and residents will still receive all the services they currently have access to.
However, branding is changing back to Brent Council which will appear on all official estate signage, website, social media, letters and ID cards of staff and contractors.
Residents have a chance to shape the new housing service and can get involved by taking part in a survey to help with the new customer service strategy, attend a workshop to better understand service standards and take part in the testing of designs for a new smartphone app.