Kensington and Chelsea Council plans to commit an extra £150,000 to extend opening hours of customer services and provide a Handyperson Service as part of a new Housing Repairs Service for its council tenants.
Since taking over the management of council homes in March 2018, the council has been reviewing all aspects of the services offered to residents, including Housing Repairs, to ensure the services provided are what people want.
According to the council, the recent consultation resulted in nearly 800 responses with 77 per cent supporting the new policy and only five per cent against it. The aim is for significant improvements and changes, including longer hours for the Customer Service Centre and appointments for repairs also now available on Saturdays. New contractors will be appointed for many of the services, a new handyperson service will be introduced, there will be better training for staff and new apprenticeships for local people.
Kensington and Chelsea wants to make it easier for residents to get in touch and report any problems. As well as the Customer Service Centre having longer opening hours, residents can go online or visit one of the Housing reception areas. Residents will be kept informed of their appointment time and if there are any delays, they will receive either a text message or phone call.
There are now clearer times in which repairs will be carried out, ranging from within four hours for serious health and safety issues to within 20 working days for minor issues.
The Handyperson Service is brand new for minor jobs not covered under the usual repair obligation – such as putting up shelves, curtain rails and fitting locks, which would normally be something a resident would be responsible for.
Residents who qualify for the service will either have a disability or health problem, be a single parent with a disabled child or be 65 years and over.
The consultation work revealed that not all residents are aware of what services are available and what responsibilities are the Council’s or theirs. A new and clear Code of Conduct will be published and issued to all tenants.
Handyperson Service and Extension of Customer Services for Council Tenants