Liberty has overseen a major restructure of how gas servicing is carried out for Leeds City Council.

The firm was appointed in 2012 as the gas service and repair & maintenance contractor for 14,000 properties managed by the council’s former ALMO, East North East Homes Leeds, with the contract starting at the busiest point of the annual servicing programme.

The project involved the amalgamation of two previous contracts, along with works to empty homes which had been delivered directly by the council. Liberty also faced a major backlog of servicing from the outgoing providers, which presented a major challenge if the council was to maintain compliance levels.

Liberty worked with the council to transform the previous service plan, which had seen more than 90% of servicing carried out in the first seven months of the contract.

When Liberty was appointed, the number of services carried out ranged from more than 2,500 in some months to under 200 in others. Gas servicing checks were out of date at 1,300 properties and 500 more homes were at risk of becoming out of date within 30 days.

The team immediately implemented a recovery plan, with additional contractors brought in to work evenings and weekends and back office staff putting new processes in place to set up urgent appointments.

The plan ensured that properties that were either out of date for gas service checks or at risk of being so were reduced by 10% each week over a three-month period, meaning that the council achieved 100% compliance by the end of that financial year.

The service plan was restructured so that same number of gas services are now carried out on every day of the year, allowing engineers to plan work and manage resources well into the future. A Customer Liaison Officer has also been appointed to help the team with properties that are hard to access.

Tony Butler, Head of Leeds Building Services at Leeds City Council

Throughout the contract, Liberty brought to the table a wealth of experience and innovation that kept the service moving forwards. Over and above the base requirements of the contract, Liberty worked hand-in-hand with Leeds to develop a more even and sustainable service programme and develop a combined approach to improving asset condition, whilst working within the available budgets. Within Leeds, Liberty was the only contractor to deliver 100% compliance, which is a testimony in itself, and demonstrates joined up working arrangements and a good example of contract partnership working. The Liberty Gas contract in Leeds was a success and their presence during the contract period lead to improvements across the wider council service.

10%
reduction every week of out of date and at risk properties
68
services per day every day of the year
100%
compliance rate by the end of the Council's financial year

Challenges

  • Liberty appointed to deliver a new service that amalgamated a range of contracts previously delivered by two contractors and the local authority
  • Backlog of servicing had been left by outgoing providers
  • Took over service plan with 93% of contract proposed to be delivered in first seven months
  • 1,300 properties were out of date for gas service checks with 500 more at risk within 30 days
  • TUPE transfer of staff from council to Liberty

Solutions

  • Recovery plan immediately implemented
  • Weekly and daily reports where set up to track progress and highlight at risk properties
  • Additional engineering resource worked evenings and weekends to clear servicing backlog, supported by back office staff and customer liaison officers
  • New system put in place for contacting customers with more flexible appointments offered and text message service implemented
  • Service program transformed with the same number of checks planned for every day of the year
  • Customer Liaison Officers appointed to help with hard to access properties

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