Last week saw one of our busiest weeks across the National Housing Prime and the Regional Primes contracts and, many sites, particularly across Scotland and the South West of England, have seen closures and significant road access issues.
Our Customer Service Centre in Speke felt the impact of the storm with a 150% increase in Housing calls. The frontline team received around 1,000 critical orders within 24 hours and of those, we completed over 800 in one day, typically they receive around 950 calls per week. The Regional Prime Helpdesk received around 1400 calls. They answered calls as quickly as possible and continued to prioritise the most critical works, with any pre-planned non-urgent works being postponed in affected areas. Despite the challenging conditions on our Housing contract we have been able to attend in excess of 80% of critical works.
Richard Chapman, Area Manager for Somerset, Devon & Cornwall on our South West National Housing Prime contract said, “I think a real acknowledgment has to be made to the efforts of the out of hours Helpdesk team. During my on call period of this week, they have been both effective and professional in their approach to the turmoil that unfolded. A big thank you to all concerned and a real achievement for the business.”
One of our customers in particular was pleased with how quickly we were able to resolve her boiler issues despite the severe weather. She said, “I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who was involved in dealing with getting me a new boiler. It was condemned on 27/02 and a new one was fitted on 01/03. I am fully aware of the pressure you have been under due to the weather conditions and I feel that, as a company, you dealt with my issue superbly. My family and I are very grateful to everyone involved from the Helpdesk to the engineers.”
On our Regional Prime contract there wasn’t a high increase in asset related jobs but a number of sites were closed, so the main issue was managing the snow and ice on the ground to keep sites operational. Some of our ISS operatives, who are stationed across the UK, stayed overnight at establishments in the worst affected areas in order to keep on top of snow and ice clearance to ensure there were no disruptions for customers.
At RAF Fylingdales on the Regional Prime Central contract, operatives worked in shifts staying over for around 48 hours to keep the base up and running. On our South West Regional Prime contract, supply chain partner ISS worked hard to ensure sites were operational by staying over where they could and 4×4 vehicles were on hand to collect operatives where it was too unsafe to stay over to make sure they could arrive back to site safely. The ISS operatives at DM Plymouth also lent their support to RM Bickleigh when they needed help following the effects of the bad weather.
On our Regional Prime Central contract one of our Delivery Managers, Lyndon May, stayed overnight in St Athan to make sure that they had someone on site the following day and late into the evening. Senior Project Manager, Mark Allport, and Vetting Administrator, Helen Allport decided they wouldn’t let the storm get in their way following authorities’ advice not to travel and walked over a mile to work to ensure they could continue service and Linda Coleman, one of our Kineton Administrators, got a lift to work from a local farmer. Our Site Manager, Stuart Anthony, took a 30 mile detour, on top of his normal 60 mile route, to miss Caerny Corner on the A15 to ensure he could get to work on time at RAF Scampton, which made the local news.
On our South West National Housing Prime contract one of our local contractors, Mi Space, took to resolving issues over the phone for customers with the technical experience of the on call Project Manager and his heating team when there were issues with road closures as 65% of the zone was inaccessible due to the serious weather conditions. Supply chain operatives from local contractors in the South West, Steele Davis, ended up getting stuck in the snow a few times throughout the day and ended up walking to properties, carrying temporary heaters and parts if necessary, in order to attend jobs and ensure occupants had the help that they needed.
On our South East National Housing Prime contract around 98% of our staff and supply chain made it to work despite the conditions, and we had a number of engineers volunteering for additional out of hours cover across the region. In estates where engineers couldn’t reach customers were called to try and get a resolution over the phone for critical orders and for those that couldn’t be resolved over the phone, hotels were booked for the weekend. None of our Accommodation Officers could reach one estate so GBE Electrician Chris Marley covered a move in appointment to keep service going for our customers. Several of our Accommodation Officers and operatives walked to their appointments in other areas, including Brize Norton Accommodation Officer, Ewa Foltynska. Additional temporary were also purchased by our supply chain to ensure there was enough stock to cover the weekend.
ISS operatives worked closely with management when the snow hit Brize Norton and surrounding areas, to share updates to inform and manage team movements and contractor works on site. They also arranged overnight accommodation and we made our offices available to them so that they could work through the night. The operatives also attended various areas across Central London to carry out additional gritting and also ensured stocks were replenished across the region.
Stuart Jones, our Customer Services Director, said, “We would like to thank staff and supply chain partners who continued to deliver for our customers and went above and beyond with the Beast from the East and Storm Emma wreaking havoc across the country. We’d like to especially thank those operatives from ISS and other staff who ended up sleeping at work in order to ensure somebody was on site the next day.”