Thursday, 9 January 2014

Estates And Facilities Team Goes Mobile

Mobile working technology has been introduced by the Estates and Facilities team who deal with responsive repairs for Council tenants and leaseholders. On 6th January 2014 the service replaced a paper-based repairs system with wireless enabled hand-held devices, and this will transform the way the service is managed in future. The Council’s housing software is now updated in real time enabling staff in the customer service centre to answer residents’ queries more efficiently. Appointments will now be offered for a wider range of repairs, and a text will be sent to the tenant’s mobile telephone as soon as the tradesperson is on the way to the address. Once there, the tradesperson will be able to check the repair history for the property. At the end of the work, the resident will have the opportunity to complete a satisfaction survey directly onto the device, which will immediately record their comments onto the job records.

The introduction of this new I.T. is the culmination of a comprehensive improvement plan for the responsive repair and void service, which has already seen improvements in the efficiency of the team. Mobile working technology will provide further savings for the Council by eliminating over 18,000 pieces of paper per year, reducing time spent collecting materials, minimising travelling distances between jobs, and also removing the need to input data manually. Together these changes will provide the capacity to expand the operation across other service departments, making it more productive and cost effective.

Shaun White, a carpenter in the responsive repairs team said "This new system is very easy to use and we now have a much more modern approach to our work. Previously we spent a lot of time completing paper work. This new system records all our time and the materials we use on the job just by touching the screen on the mobile device. It is also very useful to be able to see what other jobs have been carried out in the property, as sometimes tenants tell us that the fault keeps occurring and it is helpful to be able to look at the details of what has been done before."

Executive Councillor for Housing, Councillor Catherine Smart said "This new approach to the way we work is good for tenants, good for the environment, and good for the council. We will be able to provide a better service to tenants and increase our efficiency, while at the same time reduce our carbon emissions. It will save the tradespeople a lot of tedious paper-work and make better use of their time. It is important that the Council makes the most of the available technology to reduce costs and benefit services wherever possible. This is a significant step forward for the service, and we look forward to seeing the improvement it will make."