Tyne & Wear

Tyneside council 'to save £100m' bringing work in house

Window frame in need of repair Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption North Tyneside Council said the new appointment system for repairs was better

A council has forecast it will save £100m after bringing housing repairs back in house.

North Tyneside Council ended its decade-long contract with construction and infrastructure firm Kier in April.

A report to councillors says, since then, the quality and efficiency of the service has improved.

Council housing head Phil Scott said it could now "exercise more control and improve customer service, deliver quality services at a better price".

"We are creating new opportunities for small and medium sized local businesses to deliver work on the council's behalf," he said.

'Financial pressure'

The service was outsourced to Kier following a poor inspection of council-run services in 2006 by the then Audit Commission.

Kier Housing Maintenance managing director David Mawson said the company was "proud of our performance on the contract" which it said had provided value for money.

"We built the first new council housing in North Tyneside for 25 years and we offered a range of training apprenticeships and employment opportunities to the local community," he said.

The firm's contract with Stoke-on-Trent City Council was also not renewed in March when the council took the work back in house.

Mr Mawson said local authorities were "under severe financial pressure" and some were taking over outsourced services to "try to reduce costs by cutting back the service as and when budgets demand".

The change at North Tyneside Council is expected to save £100m over 30 years, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The authority said hiring local businesses meant more of its public spending stayed within the borough. Eight apprentices have also been hired for the service.

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