Longest wait for a council housing repair in Sheffield is three years – as backlog of repairs tops 6,300

Sheffield Council is still trying to do a housing repair three years after it was first reported.

By Lucy Ashton, Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 18th October 2021, 2:11 pm

The average waiting time for a repair is 19 days but the oldest order relates to a fire stopping job from 2018.

Fire stopping is where measures are put in place to help stop the spread of fire through a room or building.

Coun Paul Wood, Executive member for housing, did not reveal the neighbourhood but said: “The service has attempted to gain access for this order and an outstanding gas service since this period.

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Council repairs.

“This matter is with legal services as the tenant is not using the property as their main residence. A legal injunction was obtained in December 2020 and legal services are pursuing this matter.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Sophie Thornton quizzed Coun Wood about outstanding housing repairs following a pause on all routine and planned maintenance and repairs work during the pandemic.

The service was only fully reinstated at the end of March and it still faces a backlog of thousands of jobs.

Since April 2020, 89 placements in temporary accommodation have been made for council tenants but the council cannot say how many of these are due to maintenance issues.

There’s currently 6,315 overdue repairs and tenants are also struggling to call the council to discuss them.

In June the average waiting time on the phone for repairs was 15 minutes but the longest was more than an hour.

By August, the average call was taking almost half an hour to be answered with the longest wait an hour and a half.

Operators dealing with housing repair calls have been struggling, along with other council call centre workers.

There was a swell of calls about appointment letters arriving late because of a postal issue.

And a significant backlog of repairs meant chase calls/appointments queries made up a third of demand.

A new system will help the council rearrange tradesmen appointments which should reduce the number of chase calls.

And operators have been working weekends dealing with housing repairs which has reduced the volume of calls on Mondays.