A new repairs contract for East Devon tenants – pictured are (from back left) Peter Sullivan (EDDC tenant), Graham Baker, EDDC senior housing technical officer, Claire Harris, project manager for Ian Williams, John Taylor, EDDC property and assets manager and Craig Jones, General manager of Ian Williams. Front row from left are Janet Sullivan (EDDC Tenant), Pat Crocker (EDDC tenant) and Cllr Megan Armstrong, EDDC’s portfolio holder for Sustainable Homes and Communities.

Established UK firm Ian Williams Ltd take up new ten-year contract from Monday 1 July

East Devon District Council has appointed a new partner to maintain its 4,200 council homes.

Established UK property services firm Ian Williams Ltd will be contracted to carry out all aspects of the maintenance and improvements of the council’s properties, which includes providing a day-to-day repairs service for tenants and proactively fixing issues before they become a more expensive problem. The contract also includes bringing empty properties up to standard before being re-let. The new contract will start on Monday 1 July.

East Devon owns a range of properties – houses, flats and bungalows – to provide affordable social housing for local people. Against the backdrop of tighter financial constraints faced by all councils across the country, the council has carried out a root and branch review of how it looks after its properties to ensure that tenant’s homes are safe, affordable, and are of a high quality.

Over the last 18 months, the council has developed a new service designed to meet the needs of its tenants, and maintain and improve its housing stock. After an in-depth selection process, Ian Williams Ltd won the contract to deliver the new service.

The council is looking to build the partnership with Ian Williams Ltd for the long term, beginning with an initial ten-year period. If the partnership is a success it can be expanded and extended. Resident satisfaction and excellent performance will be key tests to monitor the contract.

Councillor Megan Armstrong, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for Sustainable Homes and Communities, has welcomed the new partnership.

She 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.

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.

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:

Ian Williams has long recognised the benefits of strategic, long term partnerships and fully endorses the business philosophy and solid relationships that this approach engenders.

This ten-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.