National firm nets contract for repairs at East Devon’s 4,200 council houses

A national firm has landed a decade-long contract to oversee maintenance and repairs at 4,200 East Devon council houses.

Ian Williams Ltd has been appointed by East Devon District Council (EDDC) and will begin its work on July 1.

Councillor Megan Armstrong, 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.

A photo of Cllr Megan Armstrong, EDDC’s portfolio holder for Sustainable Homes and Communities.

Cllr Megan Armstrong, EDDC’s portfolio holder for Sustainable Homes and Communities.

“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.”

The established UK property services company will be contracted to carry out all aspects of the authority’s houses, flats and bungalows.

This will include providing a day-to-day repairs service for tenants, proactively fixing issues before they become a more expensive problem, and bringing empty properties up to standard before being re-let.

Root and branch review

EDDC says it has carried out a ‘root and branch’ review of how it looks after its properties – in a difficult financial climate – to ensure that tenant’s homes are safe, affordable, and are of a high quality.

The partnership with Ian Williams Ltd can be expanded and extended. Resident satisfaction and excellent performance will be key tests to monitor the contract.

Council tenant Peter Sullivan, who has been involved in the appointment process, said: “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.”

Craig Jones, Ian Williams Ltd general manager, added: “This 10-year partnership with the council 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 the council to help create excellent customer service, provide quality workmanship and instigate a responsive culture based on innovative technology.

“Although a national company, Ian Williams has 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.”

Read more East Devon news here.

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