Newham's repairs and maintenance service scoops gong for innovation at Local Government Awards

17 March 2017 in Council and democracy and Mayor
Newham Council‘s repairs and maintenance service (RMS) has won the ‘most innovative service delivery’ accolade at this year’s Oscars of the local government  world.​
The service beat Essex County Council,  Hart District Council,  OneSource (Havering, Newham and Bexley Councils), Northamptonshire County Council, Peterborough City Council and  Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council to pick up the honour  at the 2017 Local Government Chronicle Awards. The awards showcase the best new ideas and recognises the most innovative solutions in local government.

Judges were impressed with the way that RMS had modernised and diversified into larger scale repairs and refurbishment to provide better value for money and customer satisfaction.

The repairs and maintenance service has increased staff productivity and is now a pioneering model combining a traditional, directly controlled, housing repairs service with an imaginative expansion into an unrivalled breadth of work activities.

The team now delivers the council’s gas servicing, highways maintenance and also undertakes planned highways works. This approach has now saved the council more than £10m since 2007.

Within the last 18 months, RMS has also branched out into house-building, hugely increasing its scope. Newham, like the rest of the capital, needs new, quality affordable housing. It also has a number of small, in-fill sites, for which traditional housing is inappropriate. RMS, understanding the need for affordable housing in the borough wanted to use its expertise to build homes fit for these sites.

The service built the first homes to be built by Newham Council in 30 years,  comprising of six quality three-bedroomed properties in Chatsworth Road, Stratford. In addition to building the homes, the council team made alterations to the surrounding roads, street lighting and landscaping. The council’s architects IGM Ltd provided expertise.

Plans are in place for RMS to build more homes and another 150 new homes are planned over the next three years, with five sites already identified.

Sir Robin Wales Mayor of Newham, said: The Mayor said: “I am very proud of our repairs and maintenance team who have beaten councils across England to win this award. They have showcased a visionary approach and our highly skilled officers have built much-needed homes while saving the council millions of pounds.”

The homes have been funded through a combination of Right to Buy receipts and the council’s housing capital. Materials were supplied through the council’s partnership with Travis Perkins Plc, a national leader in building material.
Comments made by the judges included: “This was a radical transformation of a service that saw it expand to new areas of work whilst saving the council millions. It was an innovative commercial approach that has seen the service not only increase in size and integrity but also become an integral part of the council’s agenda for building much needed affordable homes.”