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New report reveals massive increase in demand for HTS services

General / Mon 13th Feb 2023 at 11:13am

A REPORT on the work of HTS, the council company in charge of housing repairs and environmental services in the town has detailed a massive increase in the demands for their work post-Covid.

The number of jobs in progress has risen from 2906 in December 2017 to a massive 5587 in December 2022.

The report, which will be discussed by the Harlow Council Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday night, details a number of reasons for the increasing demand.

Reasons for increases

1) Relief Event

As a result of three major storm events HTS submitted a Relief event in February 2022 where an additional 355 fencing jobs and 178 roofing jobs (total 533 jobs) where raised as result of 3 storms in 5 days with an estimated cost of £463K.

HTS has provided a detailed list of the jobs and costings in an effort to gain relief for the KPI’s and compensation to carry out the additional works.

The Council are considering what will be the best way to reduce these jobs.

2) Covid backlog

At the beginning of July 2021, when social distancing and other restriction began to be lifted HTS identified 727 jobs that had gone beyond the target and a number of other additional raised jobs that had been on hold and could not be tackled because of restrictions.

Without additional funding to deal with the backlog and ongoing resourcing issues, HTS completed the backlog of jobs created as fast as possible but was this was replaced by an ever-increasing amount of new jobs as residents felt comfortable contacting us to carry out repairs again that had been put off.

The recovery was hampered by continued absence from front line staff and using built up holiday allowances and has further continued into 2022-23 with the ability to recruit skilled staff becoming increasingly difficult.

3) Increased volumes of repairs

A few examples are listed below:

Double glazed units (DGU) – instead of replacing just one failed HTS have to replace multiple units, as many as 20 on some properties.

Fencing – storms and high winds result in numerous fencing failures often requiring whole runs of fencing rather than individual fence panels

Garage repairs – between 400-600 repair jobs every month

Disrepair – cases of disrepair are increasing and are resource intensive to deliver

Roofing – see following section for more information

These increased number of repairs can partly be attributed to the condition of the stock and investment strategy.

4) Roofing repairs

The levels of WIP in roofing has been a concern for some time and HTS has been struggling to keep up with the demand.

Over the last 2 years we have increased our supply chain, resources and budgets to try and keep pace with the ever-increasing volume of works.

Current WIP as at the end of December 2022 was 1516 Jobs.

Below is summary of the various types of roofing jobs currently in WIP and how this has changed over time.

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The full report can be read below.

https://moderngov.harlow.gov.uk/documents/s22889/HTS%20Scrutiny%20Committee%20Report.pdf

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7 Comments for New report reveals massive increase in demand for HTS services:

Nicholas Taylor
2023-02-13 12:27:12

I am afraid this is what happens when a council fails to maintain the external fabric of its homes. Houses are being left for DECADES before being repaired and painted externally, an issue the Harlow Alliance Party has been asking questions of councillors for the last three years or so. When the council were gleefully reporting that HTS were making a profit which could be returned to the council, what they really meant was that not all the work HTS were being paid to do was being done. This profit should have ben used to do more work on the councils houses, not just passed back to the council to prop up its general fund.

jarrett
2023-02-13 12:44:58

Proactive, reactive and i know which one they work too.

David Forman
2023-02-13 12:55:08

Nicholas, and who were in charge of the council for most of the period of profit taking and backlog of works? You guessed it, the Labour Party. At least our current Conservative council is trying to catch up.

Annie
2023-02-13 14:37:26

Friend is still waiting to have their windows replaced despite you coming out and measuring up for them.

Mike
2023-02-13 15:23:24

Totally agree with all the above. You literally have to beg for a repair these days, my 2 bed flat has never been properly insulated and therefore mould and dampness creeps in everywhere. The council even covered up mould with plasterboard, doesn't solve the problem and I dread to think what it looks like now.

David morton
2023-02-13 18:28:18

I had a problem with my garage door, they said it can take up to 3 months before a repair can be carried out but that's not guaranteed, ok I said I'll take my car out and stop paying the rent, fixed in 2 days, soon as money is mentioned, strange that! I pay nearly £80 per month and the garages are falling into disrepair, where is that money going because its certainly not on the upkeep of what I'm paying for.

Chris
2023-02-13 21:21:04

Surely there is a consideration for ageing stock and an increase for aged buildings requiring more maintenance than new? Obviously not. Should be basic business sense, well should be for a council /business that cares for it's stock and assets...

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