Council meetings

Agenda item

Lewisham Homes Repairs Service Update



·         That the committee noted and was pleased with the progress that had been made since this report last came to the Committee in November 2022.



Margaret Dodwell (Chief Executive, Lewisham Homes) and Sarah Willcox-Jones (Director of Repairs, Lewisham Homes) introduced the report. The following key points were noted:


5.1. In September 2022, Lewisham Homes identified the need for specialist support in helping them improve the performance of their repairs service. This led to the appointment of an experienced Interim Repairs Improvement Lead in October 2022 and the development of a Repairs Improvement Plan in November 2022.

5.2. Due to staff shortages around Christmas, the Repairs Improvement Plan was paused for 2 months and recommenced in February 2023.

5.3. Lewisham Homes had launched a recruitment campaign for 41 new repairs staff including 25 operatives. 16 operative jobs had been filled.

5.4.  Along with increasing the number of operatives, support contractors were being onboarded to assist with reducing the aged work in progress. This support would go-live in early April 2023 for approximately 10 weeks.

5.5. Lewisham Homes launched the Localz app on 23rd of February which was being used to request satisfaction feedback and identify when work was not completed satisfactorily.

5.6. Repair calls regarding an existing repair were going down. They were now at 30% compared to 50% in October 2022.

5.7. In 2022, on some days the average time to answer calls was around 25 to 30 minutes but now it was going down and was as low as 5 minutes on some days.

5.8. Lewisham Homes advised that they were still having IT issues and had several system outages or issues with internet access in Laurence House. Their current telephony system was dated and based on Skype. An early move to the Council’s telephony system was being discussed and would hopefully resolve these IT issue to some extent.


The Committee members were invited to ask questions. The following key points were noted:


5.9. Lewisham Homes had a major works contract with United Living that focused on the properties in the South of the borough. United Living would now be assisting Lewisham Homes with their aged work in progress. This would be covered under the current contract but with a letter of intent so there would be a slight variation to the initial contract. They would start by assisting with work in the South of the borough whilst options were explored for the North of the borough. The work would be around damp and mould as well as other specialised areas such as glazing.

5.10. In the meeting of the Committee in November 2022, officers from Lewisham Homes stated that they were approximately 1000 repair jobs over where they needed to be. This figure was currently at 750.

5.11. Officers stated that the outstanding recruitment of 10 operatives should hopefully conclude by end of April 2023/ early May 2023. They hoped to be fully staffed by summer of 2023. Biggest challenge in recruitment was recruiting surveyors.

5.12. There was a ring-fenced team that looked after leaks, damp and mould cases. Early intervention visits were also being undertaken by Lewisham Homes officers so that proactive action could be take on damp and mould cases. Extended appointments for repairs were also still being offered.

5.13. In November 2022, Lewisham Homes had 267 active disrepair cases. There had been a targeted campaign on some of their estates in January 2023 & February 2023 as reported by residents, staff and councillors which led to a spike in disrepair cases being lodged with 52 new cases just from January 2023 to mid-February 2023. Their total active disrepair cases were currently around 320. Appointing a paralegal had been helpful as some cases were successfully resolved through the alternative dispute resolution process.

5.14. Lewisham Homes’ disrepair budget had two different components- part of it came directly out of the HRA (Housing Revenue Account) through the Council and part of it was funded by Lewisham Homes. Around £17million was received by Lewisham Homes for compliance and repairs and they then decided how to allocate those £17million.



·         That the committee noted and was pleased with the progress that had been made since this report last came to the Committee in November 2022.


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