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Southwark Council repairs award

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Wednesday 16 September 2009 11.35pm
If you are a Southwark Council Tenant or Leaseholder you may be interested to learn that in November 2008 it's repairs control centre won a national award.

The award was made based on information supplied by Southwark Council to the Chartered Institute of Housing.

The Award website states:

"benchmarking suggests Southwark now has the best repairs service in London, with 85 per cent customer satisfaction"


"Ninety-seven per cent of repairs are now attended on time"

If you have used this service within the last 18 months your opinion would be appreciated as the accuracy of these statistics is perhaps questionable.

Were you satisfied?

For the full story go to:
Wednesday 16 September 2009 11.55pm
I am no longer a council tenant, so I have no recent experience of Southwark's repair process, but I do find those figures very hard to believe. I last had dealings with them about 7 or 8 years ago, and found it tough going to get anything done.

It sounds like quite a dramatic turn around in the last 18 months and they must have got rid of all their old staff and found some magic carpenters and glaziers etc to get those figures.
Thursday 17 September 2009 8.40am
I have no complaints about repairs from Leathermarket office, only to moan that over two years ago being promised a new kitchen as the 30 year old one was tatty and under the new ' better housing for southwark tenants etc...
Thursday 17 September 2009 10.17am
that is not deserved!

We are tenants of a tenant-managed organisation and their repairs service IS excellent.

However, out of hours emergency repairs is done by Southwark and its 'award winning' call centre.

We had a new bathroom installed last year and ever since the toilet and sinks have intermittently blocked due to them installing the pipes at too tight an angle.

We have had to call Southwark's 'award winning' call centre on about 15 occasions ever since. The call centre has a message saying they are experiencing extremely high call volumes and to call back later! On several occasions, I have held for long periods only to be cut off.

On 1 September, our toilet decided to block and foul water was leaking all over the bathroom as a result of a backsurge - this was at about 7:00 a.m. I called the call centre and was told that their computers were down and that somebody would call me back within two hours to log the call. SOUTHWARK'S REPAIRS POLICY SAYS THEY WILL ATTEND WITHIN TWO HOURS!

I persisted and persisted and was arguing with teh call agent about what constituted an emergency - he could not provide this and I was arguing with him for over 30mins. Eventually I insisted that I speak with the manager. The manager then said that the person I had spoken to was mistaken and in fact there was nothing wrong with the computers but due to the bank holiday weekend they were only logging 'urgent calls'. I referred her to Southwark's own repairs charter (rubbish) which they use taxpayers' money to print stating that they will attend within two hours to deal with a blocked toilet. She then said that she would 'get (her) colleague to log the call' and that someone would be there within 2 hours.

2hrs later and no one there so rang back. Had to hold for the manager again as the call had been logged as standard. They said the plumber could come any time until 5:00 p.m. that day and that it definitely wouldn't be before lunch. Whilst i was arguing with the manager and asking why she couldn't contact the plumber, she said he was on another job! As she said this, the plumber arrived.

So, in conclusion, Southwark's call centre is among the worst I've encountered. It is far better (with some safeguards in place) to allow the contractors to run their own helpdesk service so that proper communication can be maintained with the people on the ground and so that the calls are dealt with by people knowing what constitutes an emergency.

Sorry for long rant but we were going on holiday on 1 September and could've missed our flight but for Southwark's poor service.
Thursday 17 September 2009 10.53am
Reading that Gavin, perhaps I'm lucky that they 'forgot' our kitchen...seems like you had the 'cowboys' in..
Thursday 17 September 2009 11.18am
You could say that, Jan. That said, when Southwark's plumbers do arrive they're actually quite good; the problem is in convincing the call centre that you are worthy of an emergency visit!
Thursday 17 September 2009 11.32am
I really like the Southwark Council sticker that gets placed on intended repairs that says 'Repair Aware'. We have one on our landing where the lights have been out for six months. It was stuck up about five months ago. Must ring them again.

But I agree that when the plumbers / electricians etc do turn up, they're great.
Thursday 17 September 2009 1.42pm
Southwark Council's repairs is one of my pet hates. About 8 out of 10 times that I've called the repair line I have had to chase it up - they call round to look at the repair (if I'm lucky) then it just gets left. When I call to enquire about it I get told 'the job has been completed' or 'someone will call me back' (which they very rarely do) or 'I'll transfer you to the person/department who is dealing with it' and from there I go round in circles, inevitably ending up with the recorded message at the start of the repair line. It is very frustrating. I cannot remember the last time I called them and the repair was fixed within the time frame without me chasing it. There have been times when I have paid someone to fix the fault because I know it will take an age for Southwark to do it. I have emailed them (as suggested on this forum)and I got an automated reply but nothing else. I have also asked them not to send me SMS messages when I report a fault but still the phone rings from 7am until 6pm with an alien automated voice telling me something that I cannot understand. I have now found that if a repair is not completed then tell them you want to make a complaint and things usually start moving, failing that contact your councillor who I have found to be very good.
Thursday 17 September 2009 1.54pm
and so that leads us to wonder where they grabbed the figure of 85% customer satisfaction from?! Eileen sensibly suggests contacting the councillor which is indeed effective but, given that we all pay ren and council tax (amongst others), we should be able to expect a decent (albeit basic) level of service from these people whose wages we pay.

Based on the numerous posts on this forum, it seems they have struggled for no customer satisfaction. Just another example, I think, of dressing up the figures.

Has anyone had a GOOD experience with this call centre?
Thursday 17 September 2009 2.48pm
This really must be a joke? Or just how bad can all the rest of the councils be, if the service we get from Southwark is worth an award?

I might add, that some aspects of the service have improved during the past few years, but it is still not worth any awards. And some of the staff answering the phones, especially at night and weekends (the emergency repairs) have no idea of customer service.

I don't know either where the numbers come from, I think they are now meant to phone up after every repair and ask how satisfied the customer is, but at least for me it has not happened in ages, and I have had to use them quite often.
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