Well done to the winning team
South Ayrshire Council has been named 'most improved performer' for building maintenance at the prestigious APSE awards.
The Council's Property Maintenance team scooped the top award at an awards ceremony in Blackpool. Judges were impressed with the service which has completely transformed in recent years to cut average repair times to 2.5 hours from a target of 4 hours. 99.9% of appointments are now completed on target and tenant satisfaction levels have risen from 74% to 86%.
This unparalleled success was rooted in a fundamental redesign of how the Council carries out repairs. A review involving tenants as well as property maintenance, customer services, housing, ICT and finance staff has led to many changes including the use of over 40 stocked vehicles which allow work to be completed on the first visit.
A repair team is also based in Girvan which means less travelling to attend call outs in this area. Training has also been improved and there is more emphasis on the personal development of staff.
The changes have also meant that productivity is substantially increased which in turn reduces the costs of repairs — so Council and tenants' budgets go further.
Catering staff were also nominated for an improvement award in the 'Education Catering' category but just missed out. Their nomination follows an improvement programme which has led to more opportunities for staff training, increased engagement with parents, pupils and other staff and a focus on quality assurance. All of these factors combined with other advances have led to an increase in the uptake of school meals. The nomination is validation that we are moving in the right direction.
The Ayrshire Roads Alliance (ARA) was also nominated under most improved performer for roads, highways and winter maintenance. ARA has been implementing a range of improvement works across South Ayrshire which is benefitting visitors, business users and commuters following significant investment by South Ayrshire Council.
The APSE awards recognise both 'Best Performers' and 'Most Improved Performers' in local government frontline services, to encourage excellence and promote continuous improvement.
Councillor Robin Reid, Resources and Performance Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said "This is a great achievement for the Council and all of the staff involved. Property maintenance came very close last year but just missed out. This year, the improvements have kept on coming and APSE has recognised this tremendous effort. Our tenants are reaping the rewards for all this hard work and this is reflected in the high customer satisfaction rates.
"Although we just missed out on the Education Catering award, being a finalist is still something to shout about and who knows it could be second time lucky for this award too….so well done and keep up the good work."
David Burns, Head of Housing and Facilities said: "Over the past 2 years, both Property Maintenance and our Catering teams have made significant improvements to their service delivery. This has been achieved through listening to our workforce, taking on board their suggestions and creating a positive, respectful and supportive working environment."
APSE Chief Executive Paul O'Brien said, "The winners and finalists of these awards are proof that, despite the squeeze of austerity and continuous budget cuts, local councils can still offer excellent frontline services that successfully serve their communities. It is a pleasure to be working with these innovative, determined champions of local government."
The Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) is a not-for-profit membership based organisation dedicated to promoting excellence in the delivery of frontline services to local communities.