A leading South West housing association is growing its maintenance team as part of plans to provide a single in-house service across LiveWest.
Over the course of the next five years, it is hoped that circa £5m savings will be made by bringing all repairs, voids and kitchen and bathroom planned programmes in-house.
Last month, new colleagues joined from MD Group, who have provided day-to-day repairs and void works services to 2,700 LiveWest homes across Bristol and South Gloucestershire since 2014 and further recruitment is taking place to deliver the full range of services to customers. The move will not only create new jobs but improve stimulation for the local economy.
Liane Sheppard, LiveWest’s Director of Property Services, said: “We have been working hard for the last fewyears to gradually insource key services and works to help ensure that we are providing the same high-level customer service across all of the areas we operate.
“Bringing our repairs and maintenance in-house will deliver us significant savings, reduce our costs and improve service quality. In the Somerset, Bristol and Gloucestershire area LiveWest have historically outsourced repairs and maintenance services to several partnership contractors.
In April, the electrical testing contract and kitchen and bathroom contract will also be insourced.”
In July 2019, LiveWest welcomed new colleagues from Spectrum Property Care to deliver repairs and voids works to 1,800 homes in the Frome area in Somerset.
LiveWest have also invested in two new minor project teams to deliver complex managed repairs including a focus on improving properties. The new teams will bring together people from across Asset and Property, as well as new roles, to ensure responsibility and accountability, and improve customer experience.
Due to the challenges of operating in a Covid environment, this year is set to be busier than ever for the new teams with an increase in volume of managed repairs which includes roof repairs to replacement retaining walls.
The team structure will continue to evolve as LiveWest’s insourcing progresses across the operational area, reducing the number of contractors supporting its in-house Maintenance Service.
Liane added: “Insourcing builds in-house capacity, facilitates the joining up of services, shores up financial flexibility, manages quality standards, improves customer experience and boostsemployee morale. We have continued investment in our teams to ensure we have the right amount of support to deliver a quality repairs and maintenance service that is customer focussed and responsive. It’s exciting times for the LiveWest property team.”
“Recruiting across property maintenance has been quite challenging over the past year. There is a skills shortage so we’ve had to think outside of the box. We have reviewed our terms and conditions for current and future colleagues to ensure we are offering a great benefits package. We are really confident we are offering one of the best out there. We’re also investing in the future, and have a great apprenticeship programme”
LiveWest has invested heavily in their successful apprenticeship programme, which will see around 18 apprentices join the property team just this year. Five new starters joined last month and we have offered another 10 so far, following a comprehensive assessment centre and interview process.
The focus of LiveWest’s apprenticeship drive has been on attracting talent of all ages and backgrounds to ensure the workforce is as diverse as possible. LiveWest has been encouraging people to change their career and try out for the apprenticeship programme. Some 40% of the new apprentices are female with more and more women taking up a career in the trades.