Partnership brings savings to Stoke
Published by Rebecca Jackson for Kier Services in Housing
Residents reaping rewards of pricing pilot
The cost of delivering repairs and maintenance to council-owned properties across Stoke-on-Trent has reduced by 30% thanks to an innovative new billing structure introduced by Kier and its client, Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Kier worked with its client to reassess the pricing structure of its housing maintenance contract across Stoke to increase savings, which are directly returned to the council for reinvestment in the city’s development. Initially launched as a trial, the new practice sees contractors move from a set price list for jobs to a scheme based on time and resources used.
The pilot programme was first introduced in the centre of the city in August 2010 before a city-wide trial in February 2011. The initiative has seen the average price per maintenance job reduce from £85 in October 2010 to £60 in April 2012. The city council has also reassessed efficiency within its call centre, cutting the average length of each call from twelve minutes to four minutes.
In addition, the council plans to save a further £2m per year through the introduction of its DVD, which demonstrates how residents can undertake simple repairs within their own home, such as unblocking sinks, bleeding radiators and changing light bulbs, reducing the need for Kier call outs.
Cllr Janine Bridges, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for housing, neighbourhoods and community safety, said: “We are working closely with Kier Stoke to ensure that the best value-for-money service is provided to residents of the city.
“The council’s contract with Kier includes provisions that require them to secure continuous improvements in the way the service is delivered. This trial has proved that the change in our payment plan achieves this. Customer feedback forms have shown that satisfaction for the work carried out rates at 9.9 out of 10 and on average the price per job has dropped by about £25. In the current climate, where we have to find savings in all services, plans like this are a welcome relief and allow us to use resources elsewhere within the city.”
Kier Stoke head of operations, Richard Wall, said: “The council and Kier Stoke have worked closely together to improve the repairs service provided to residents. Developing innovative and efficient ways of working has allowed us to not only reduce our operating costs, but also to pass these savings on to the council, savings which can be reinvested back in to properties. This partnership approach allows opportunities for improvement to be identified, ensuring that value for money can be demonstrated for the services Kier provides.”