Recognition for successful partnership in North Tyneside
Published by Elizabeth Pokorny for Kier Services in Housing and also in Communities, Education
3rd anniversary celebrations
A partnership established by North Tyneside Council to help improve the area’s council housing and deliver training and employment opportunities to local people is celebrating its third anniversary with impressive results.
Kier North Tyneside was created in September 2009 by North Tyneside Council, together with leading repairs and maintenance provider, Kier, to improve the repairs and maintenance service it provides to 16,000 local social housing properties and 380 other public buildings such as libraries, schools and leisure centres.
Valued at £600m over a ten-year period, it is one of the largest partnering contracts awarded in the UK to date. And the company is making a difference for residents, schools and the local community.
Since the new joint venture company was created, Kier North Tyneside has carried out a total of 176,009 repairs on local homes, 38,120 of which were emergencies. Over 2,709 homes have been fitted with new windows and doors, while 2,389 have received new bathrooms and kitchens as part of the Decent Homes programme. Approximately 160 repairs are carried out locally by Kier on a daily basis.
The partnership has worked to improve customer service, including working to achieve faster response times to repairs and other inquiries. In 2011/2012 the average wait time for calls to the Kier North Tyneside contact centre was an impressive 16 seconds, improving on achievements of 2010/2011 when calls averaged 51 seconds and 88 seconds in 2009/2010. The number of appointments made and kept has also improved, from 65% when the contract began, to 97.52% in 2012.
There are additional benefits to the wider community of the joint venture company, which employs 400 staff. In 2010/2011 Kier North Tyneside provided 1,064 days of training to staff, including ‘aspiring managers’ courses to help employees seeking promotions to progress. A new fleet of 140 vehicles has been introduced and with 253 hours of driving logged every day, Kier North Tyneside has recently introduced driving training for 220 employees, which will see them gain NVQ Level 2 in Driving Goods Vehicles qualifications.
Kier North Tyneside currently employs ten apprentices in full-time positions, while also offering more than 600 days of work experience placements to students from schools across the borough.
As one of the largest employers in the area, Kier North Tyneside supports community events and is proud to sponsor the Churchill Community College Sports Awards and the Mouth of the Tyne Festival, and raises funds for its charity of the year, Pathways 4 All. It has also raised money for national charities including Comic Relief, Children in Need and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Kier North Tyneside managing director, Mike Furze, said: “Since the formation of the partnership we have made significant progress towards achieving our aim of providing a repairs, construction and maintenance service that is unparalleled throughout the UK. By investing in the workforce and through the use of the latest technology, we have improved the quality of the work we do. We are also hugely committed to playing a part in the regeneration of the borough and to providing employment and training opportunities for local people. Our recruitment of apprentices and the set up of our gas training business are examples of this commitment in action.”
North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor, Linda Arkley said: “The Kier joint venture is enabling the council to deliver a better service to our residents and the borough.
“Our housing maintenance response has been improved, major investment schemes such as the Spanish City Dome have been taken forward successfully, and the joint venture provides us with essential additional capacity when we need it most - as demonstrated by their excellent response to the recent severe floods, carrying out repairs to our homes and schools. There are also wider benefits to our community, for example through their commitment to apprenticeships and support for events and local charities.”
In 2011, Kier North Tyneside launched its state-of-the-art gas assessment centre, ‘Gas Training at Kier’, which offers industry recognised qualifications for engineers and those resettling after serving in the armed forces. Since its launch the centre has helped almost 100 learners to gain and renew their gas safety certificate, enabling them to stay up to date with current legislative requirements.
For more information about Kier North Tyneside Ltd visit www.kier.co.uk
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