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Taking the Time to Understand Residents is Vital

Phil Oades is regional director for Kier Housing Maintenance in the North. Phil reflects on some recent wins and how it’s the people behind the contracts that make them such a success.

“We recently announced a number of new contract wins and extensions within Kier Housing Maintenance through multiple contract wins with local authorities and other public-sector partners across the country. I’m proud to say that the Northern region has played a pivotal part in securing new work, this includes Sheffield, Leeds and Lincoln councils. Our portfolio now spans from Powys in Wales to North Tyneside and across the North West, Yorkshire and Derbyshire.

Retaining existing contracts and expanding our reach by winning new ones is a vote of confidence from our clients which we are proud of. It is the truly talented and committed teams working across the country that make such a difference – the skills and compassion they show residents I believe, is second to none, and we are reaping the benefits of this.

Working collaboratively with our clients, we take the time to understand residents and the environments they live in – be it a flat, house or bungalow, on their own, with a partner or families, we look to provide an agile and effective service to benefit them. Across all of our contracts, we continually monitor resident scores as we strive for the highest levels possible. We regularly carry out resident meetings and ask for feedback so we can learn and evolve.

This is easy to say, of course, but we do act. We know there is a growing concern of social isolation and loneliness, especially with the older generation and that’s why we partnered with Erosh, the national consortium for older people’s housing to provide a best practice guide that is available not just to colleagues but all service providers.

We are also extremely proud of our work with the armed forces. Working with DIY SOS, we volunteered our time to project manage an ambitious scheme to renovate a dilapidated street and turn it in to housing for veterans as well as a Walking with the Wounded advice and therapy centre. At the height of construction, there were over 250 tradespeople on site and we even had a royal visit, with Princes’ William and Harry. We returned two years later to refurbish 17 empty properties for the veterans’ charity Haig Housing to create a veterans’ village.

We are committed to enriching local communities and another way we do this is by offering training and career opportunities. In North Tyneside our pioneering Working Roots programme truly has changed lives. Working with the Council and Justice Prince, we have been helping cohorts of 16-18-year olds for the last five years, providing them training opportunities and qualifications. From gardening to painting, all this work is done in the community, so they and residents can see the very real differences they are making to the local area. Arming them with qualifications looks to support them with options – so they will be able to find employment opportunities easier.

Our partners and the people we meet need to see that we are here for the long term and will always seek to be a valuable and beneficial part of their communities. Part of this is about the jobs and apprenticeships we provide to local people, and also SMEs by using local supply chains for large amounts of the materials we purchase. To give one example, on an existing repairs and maintenance contract with Barnsley Council, 96 per cent of materials are purchased locally.

These new contracts are an extremely positive step for us – and we must showcase our best practice to even more residents and enrich the local communities in which they live. We will continue to work hard to provide social value which goes above and beyond our brief. The continued high-quality of our work is something clients will expect of us as a bare minimum. It’s how we go the extra mile that will keep these contracts coming in.”

Learn more about Kier by clicking here.

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