Osborne Customers Praise ‘very quick’ Contract Starts

Customers including Dacorum Borough Council and Affinity Sutton have praised the speed and efficiency with which Osborne Property Services (OPSL) has taken to mobilise the delivery of their repairs and maintenance services.

OPSL won a, ‘total asset management’ contract covering Dacorum’s 10,500 homes in March 2014. Osborne has  been recognised by the council for the ‘very quick’ three months taken to ‘mobilise’ 60 staff to carry out all repairs, maintenance and voids works, including establishing new premises and the permanent IT interfaces which are critical to the contract.

Elliott Brooks, Assistant Director at Dacorum Borough Council, said: “It is early in our relationship with Osborne, but there is a real will to make it work. It is a true partnership and Osborne has landed with a big bang in the borough and seems very keen to make a difference.”

Nick Sterling, Managing Director of OPSL, said: “We listen to our customers and they always tell us how important it is to them to begin a contract well. As a result, the process of ‘mobilisation’ is one we continually work at with residents and landlords to ensure we deliver the best possible service.”

To ensure it hit the ground running on the contract start date of 1 July 2014, OPSL worked with Dacorum and its resident scrutiny committee to identify the top 10 key performance targets and when they must be met.
This included early negotiations on IT provision, a clear approach on the process of transferring 60 staff from the previous four contractors and a comprehensive, two-day induction for all staff – including ten new, local employees – at the state-of-the-art office and call centre in Hemel Hempstead.

Andrea Maloney, Dacorum Borough Council tenant and vice-chair of the resident-led housing maintenance and environment committee, said: “Committee members go to Osborne’s offices fortnightly specifically to talk and say what’s good and what’s not good. Osborne asked for those meetings and I think that’s really proactive of them. They’re absolutely not fazed by anything we ask them and it’s really impressive the lengths they will go to resolve things. It’s early days but I am encouraged by their attitude.”
She added: “They recently replaced my front and back doors. I’ve lived in my house for more than 40 years and it’s the first time I’ve had a new back door! The standard of work was brilliant. Absolutely 10 out of 10.”

The partnership with Affinity Sutton covers its 22,000 homes in London and the south east and began in June 2013, following the termination of the contract with the previous contractor.

The time pressure to mobilise effectively in this instance was even greater than with Dacorum, due to the previous contract ending earlier than expected.

As a result, OPSL had just six weeks to induct 110 staff and launch a new repairs IT system and ensure it was fully integrated with that of Affinity Sutton.

Nick Sterling said: “The pressure was really on here for our team to ensure Affinity Sutton tenants continued to receive a repairs and maintenance service. We not only delivered this aim, but took it further, ensuring the service was excellent from day one.”