Published by Rebecca Jackson for Kier Services in Local Government and also in Housing
Kier North Tyneside operative
A partnership established between Kier and North Tyneside Council to improve the area’s council housing is celebrating its fourth anniversary - with impressive results.
Kier North Tyneside was established in September 2009 to improve the repairs and maintenance service provided to more than 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. As well as providing a high quality service to the Council’s customers, Kier is making a difference for residents, schools and the local community through employment and apprenticeship opportunities, and various community support initiatives.
Cllr John Harrison, North Tyneside Council’s cabinet member for housing and the environment, said: “Kier was brought in to help the Council to deliver better services to our residents. The joint venture provides us with essential additional capacity where we need it most. There are also wider benefits to our community, for example through its commitment to apprenticeships and support for events and local charities.”
Since its inception four years ago, Kier North Tyneside has carried out approximately 218 repairs per day to local homes; that’s a total of 229,548 repairs, 49,428 of which were emergencies. Nearly 5,000 homes have been fitted with new doors and over 30,000 new windows, while 3,300 homes have received new bathrooms as part of the Decent Homes project, improving the living standards of council residents in the borough
Kier regional director, Mike Furze, said: “The partnership between Kier and North Tyneside Council makes the service customers receive its top priority. Since the formation of the partnership we have made significant progress towards achieving our goal of providing an unparalleled repairs, construction and maintenance service. 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.”
The Kier North Tyneside partnership is working to improve customer service, including working to achieve faster response times to repairs and other enquiries. Since last year, average call wait times have improved by almost one third with the current average being just 11 seconds.
The joint venture company employs 400 staff and recognises the importance of supporting the local community with more than 60% of staff coming from the local area.
In 2013, Kier appointed nine new apprentices to complete their training in local colleges and on site alongside dedicated mentors. Since the partnership launched, Kier North Tyneside has seen nearly 120 apprentices train with the team and this commitment was recognised when it was named Large Employer of the Year by the National Apprenticeship Service at its recent award ceremony.
As one of the largest employers in the area, Kier North Tyneside supports community events and this year was proud to once again sponsor the Mouth of the Tyne Festival and raise funds for its former charity of the year, Pathways 4 All. Kier employees are also doing their bit, having raised money for charities including Comic Relief, Children in Need and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Kier North Tyneside is continuing to work with North Tyneside Council to develop innovative projects and developments for the good of the North Tyneside community. The partnership has started construction on the first new Council houses in the borough for almost 15 years and the ongoing improvement work it is carrying out at Wallsend Park will bring benefits to local people for many years.