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Ask us about...Repairs!

2017 - September, Latest news

Lee Boyle is Head of Repairs, a topic we know is very important to many of you so for this edition of doorstep we wanted to bring you an extended version of our “Ask us about…” section.  Our Customer Forum grilled Lee on what he is doing to ensure you get the best repair service possible.

So what is your job?

My main focus is the repairs and voids services. This year, Lisa is focusing on improvements in London and I am focusing on the Midlands. We have a technical team in London (Surveyors) and two in the Midlands.

I work closely with Lisa Culhane, Director of Assets and Michele Walker, Head of Reinvestment and Major Projects as part of the Senior Management Team for the Assets Department. Lisa, Michele and I have different backgrounds and skills which help us support each other as a team to achieve our goals.

Michele is focused on delivering our planned maintenance programme, safety, building and gas services. Each area of Michele’s responsibilities are overseen by a Manager who is a specialist in their area and is responsible for a team and management of contractors.

What do your teams do?

Each team has a Manager responsible for ensuring their team are supported to deliver safe, customer focused services. Each Manager is also responsible for ensuring we are managing our contractors effectively. We have a central administration team, based in Leicester, supporting (and monitoring) the technical teams to deliver for our customers. The administration team schedule Surveyor appointments and work closely with our stock investment team, contact centre, housing teams and contractors to deliver for our customers.  I have also recently taken responsibility for our Direct Labour Organisation (DLO), based in Northampton and appointed two Managers who are responsible for developing the service over the next 9-12 months.

The teams have a wealth of experience between them, ranging from specific and general building knowledge, public and private sector, housing and of course, everyone must want to be here to serve our customers.

How do you measure the quality of workmanship of contractors?

We monitor quality in a number of ways.  Our surveyors inspect 10% of all completed work as well as the vast majority of works costing over £1,200 to ensure the work has been finished to the required standards.  We monitor recalled work, first time fix rates and complaints too.

What is a recall and why do they happen?

Recalls are where our customer has advised us that work is not to the required standard. Where this happens, the contractor is asked to revisit and make good.  All of the information and trends we collect are collated and discussed in detail with the contractors on a monthly basis against contract targets. We look at the detail of where failures are taking place and where required, who the operatives are and take action to stop it happening again.

Why do you use ‘multi-skilled’ workers?

Multi-skilled means that an operative is able to carryout work on more than one type of repair in your home at the same time.  Generally, when a contractor has operatives who are multi-skilled, it is more likely they will be able to repair faster, to the right standard and on the first appointment without the need for lots of different people having to come.

How are you ensuring the right repair details are given to contractors?

I know we have some work to do to improve the information we pass to our contractors. The introduction of repairs into My asra is already having a huge impact as you can upload photos of the problem which is helping to make sure we get the right people to you and they know what to expect.

Using My asra you can raise a repair in under 2 mins and we have seen that customers choosing this method are 12% more likely to have their repair done completed on the first visit without the need for a recall.  The video below will tell you more:

We are also improving the systems used by our Customer Contact Centre so more detailed information is collected if you ring us.


Customers make appointments but contractors fail to turn up.  What are you doing to prevent this?

We carryout customer surveys and ask our customers if appointments made were kept. The results of the surveys are discussed with contractors every month. We have recently improved our processes to monitor and tackle outstanding works too. Outstanding works are works which have gone passed the target date set. We monitor daily reports and each week, a review is undertaken with the contractor to apply pressure to resolve any works outside of the target date, for our customers, as quickly as possible.

How are you going to improve the repairs service?

I believe it’s essential that we listen, learn and take a planned approach to improving services. Over the next year, we will be focusing on the following improvements for customers:

  • Improved IT for appointment booking for London customers
  • Improved repairs diagnosis when you contact us
  • Customer experience reviews (including learning from complaints)
  • A focus on the top 200 homes where customers feel they need lots of repairs
  • Development of our Direct Labour Organisation
  • Quicker repairs – less delays for customer and improved communication
  • A stronger, planned approach to tackle communal repairs

We are recruiting new members to our teams to ensure we have the right people in the right roles to deliver on my promises.


If you have any questions in relation to this article or have any suggestions on what our next "Ask us about..." feature could be on then please get in touch at


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