£3.8m needed to cover 'enormous mismanagement' of city council home repairs
- Credit: Archant
City Hall is having to set aside £3.8m to cover a massive backlog of repairs.
Norwich City Council has identified a huge amount of repairs required at its council homes across the city.
Last year, the council revealed a failure of oversight had resulted in missed electrical safety checks at nearly 900 homes, some of which should have been carried out at least five years ago.
In addition, water supplies in up to 500 homes may have missed vital checks for legionella, a germ that can cause lethal illnesses.
Now a massive backlog of repairs has been identified, forcing delays for 'void' homes - properties without tenants - to be re-let. In total, 303 void homes are expected by March, up from 176 in December.
The authority set out a series of reasons for the pile-up, including the contract with Norse, a Norfolk County Council-owned company, coming to an end.
Labour shortages, material supply-chain issues, rising costs and Covid were also blamed.
At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Alan Waters, leader of the council, said: "We have not been able to see a complete improvement from the pre-Covid period.
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“We are at the fag end of a contract and there have been a number of issues relating to shortages in the labour market."
The city council is in the process of transferring services carried out by Norse to its own company – Norwich City Services Ltd (NCSL).
To deal with the work arrears, the council will hire contractors for nine months to cover the work.
A report to the committee said an evaluation of the contractors would be based 70pc on price and 30pc on quality.
Lucy Galvin, leader of the Green group at City Hall, questioned why it has taken this long for something to be done.
She said: “Many are waiting for basic repairs, there’s also a huge issue around voids with 303 predicted by March, over £1m, a huge housing list at the moment.
“From the outside, It looks like mismanagement on an enormous scale. Who is responsible for that?”
Mr Waters said the safety scandal issues have been fully examined and argued Ms Galvin knows what issues the council is facing.
The cabinet agreed to spend £3.8m on contractors following a procurement process.
Where will the money go?
A budget of totalling £3,878,800 has been proposed, covering:
- Reactive repairs – £548,200
- Major and minor repairs – £290,400
- Damp repairs – £140,700
- Void repairs – £1,149,500
- Whole house improvements – £1,750,000
How many repairs are needed?
Norwich City Council outlined its December backlog and how much it is expected to grow by March, with thousands of repairs needed.
- Reactive repairs – 876 in December up to 1,701 in March
- Voids (empty properties) – 176 in December up to 303 in March
- Damp repairs – 115 in December up to 178 in March
- Major and minor repairs – 181 in December up to 274 in March
- Whole house improvements – 44 in December up to 50 in March