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Brighton to bring housing repairs back under council control

Brighton and Hove City Council is to bring its housing repairs and improvement services back in-house when its current contract with Mears comes to an end.

Members of the special housing and new homes committee voted yesterday (26 September) to bring the services back under local authority control when the current agreement ends in 2020.

The city council awarded the contract to Mears in 2010 and according to a council report, it has brought all council homes up to the Government’s Decent Homes Standard and has delivered savings for the local authority.

The service is responsible for 11,550 council houses and flats, plus 2,900 leasehold properties

A review of the service in June 2018 concluded that ‘it is widely acknowledged that the partnership worked very well in the early years and that an improved service was being provided, at a reduced cost and that Decent Homes standard was exceeded across the housing stock’.

But the report adds the council has been speaking to tenants, leaseholders and other stakeholders about the future of the service and now it wants to deliver these services in-house.

Councillors also approved plans last night to create a ‘set-up and mobilisation budget’ of £0.1m for 2018.19 and £0.9m 2019/20 to help with the development of the new service.

Speaking before last night’s meeting, committee chair, Cllr Anne Meadows said: ‘and our priority is to deliver a high-quality, responsive and value for money repairs, maintenance and improvement service.

‘It is one of the most important services we deliver to our tenants and leaseholders, and we’ve done a lot of work investigating all the options to make sure we provide the best service we can.

‘Our current contract has delivered a good value repairs service and allowed us to achieve 100% Decent Homes across our housing, as well as many other improvements to our residents’ homes,’ added Cllr Meadows.

‘It is important that the design of the new service allows us to maintain the high standards our residents have come to expect in the quality of their repairs and improve the areas where satisfaction has been lower.’

The full committee report is available to read here.

Jamie Hailstone
Senior reporter - NewStart

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