All in the Planning

Ben Barton is a Lead Planner for Osborne working on our partnership with Optivo, a contract we commenced last September to maintain 7,000 homes across East Sussex.

We asked him a few questions about his key role ensuring our operatives are deployed efficiently to meet resident’s needs.
Q: Ben, tell us a little about your background?
I became a planner with Booker & Best about 3 ½ years ago so I’ve a good understanding of the role, the area and our residents.
I was keen to progress my career so when Osborne took on the contract last September and the TUPE offer was made, I was hopeful I might be able to bring my knowledge and experience in the role across and progress to a higher level.
I took the offer and I’m really pleased I did as I have now become a Lead Planner managing a small team which is really exciting.
Q: So what does your role involve?
As Planners we run the day to day diaries and movement of our operatives across several different trades, making sure we deploy them efficiently so we can respond to residents needs as quickly as possible.
We take lots of calls and keep in constant touch with our operatives and our colleagues in the Optivo call centre to keep right up to date with progress on every job so we can manage our operatives time and skills effectively.
Q: You share your office with the Optivo call centre team, how valuable is that ability to work closely alongside them?
It benefits everyone including, most importantly, the residents.
It means there’s constant communication and sharing of information between us so we can operative more effectively and when there are issues, work together to resolve them as quickly as possible.
Q: So how has the change to Osborne been?
Busy, but in a positive way and there’s a really good sense of the team all supporting each other to provide the best possible service.
As you might expect with any new contract there have been one or two things to iron out but we are working really hard to resolve these and there is a really good atmosphere amongst the team.
Q: Could you give an example of a recent issue and how it was resolved?

We recently had an emergency raised at the end of a very busy day where a resident reported water pouring through their ceiling.

Our plumber, who was on his way home, immediately attended to bring the situation under control.

Next morning I was able to work closely in the office with my colleagues at Optivo to follow up and through combining our knowledge and resources we were able to fully resolve a potentially serious issue for the resident safely and efficiently within 24 hours.

It really demonstrated how our co-location helps us to make fast, informed decisions that benefit the residents.
Q: Finally Ben, what’s the best thing about your job?
Although some days can be absolutely manic we’re busy because we’re helping people and that’s really rewarding.
Also for me at the moment I’m really enjoying the opportunity to improve my leadership skills and help our new planners through passing on my knowledge and experience.