Council repairs: Supporting out of hours council repairs 24/7
A 2021 BBC investigation revealed local councils face a £3bn black hole in their budgets as they attempt to bounce back from the pandemic. As councils were expected to provide more services, including providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to their staff, revenue streams from services like car parks dried up. Emergency funds from the UK government haven’t always made up the shortfall, making the financial pressure all the more intense.
With more cuts expected over the coming months, councils that are managing to hold off bankruptcy can’t afford to continue with inefficient processes. Essential services need to be run with less funding and more effectively than ever before.
Fortunately, there is a reason to be optimistic about the challenges facing local councils in the UK. If local authorities can leverage some of the readily available technological solutions on the market, they can avert disaster and keep citizens safe at the same time. By building on councils’ emergency repair infrastructure, local authorities can fix issues faster, cheaper and more efficiently.
Deploying the right technology will be essential, but it’s far from impossible. In this article, we’ll explain what can be learned from council emergency repair services and how out of hours council repairs could become the ‘new normal’ with relatively little effort and investment.
Out of hours council repairs: How it currently works
Let’s first take a look at how the out of hours council repairs system works in the UK.
Local authorities are mandated by law to provide maintenance and repair services for their tenants. Failure to comply can result in fines. Costs also increase when councils factor in the amount of time council employees spend dealing with complaints.
There are different levels of severity for repairs, which are outlined by the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB). Council emergency repairs are noted as the most urgent, often requiring the local authority to fix the issue within 24 hours. Councils that fail to conduct emergency repairs in the timescales outlined under the right to repair scheme are liable to face financial penalties.
Each local authority has its own system for dealing with emergency repairs. Out of hours council repairs for highly dangerous issues are typically run by the local authority. But, the repairs themselves are often remedied by external contractors and repair companies. Councils have come under fire recently for their repair activities since the coronavirus pandemic began.
The danger of in-person repairs during the pandemic
Some councils were heavily criticised for continuing with non-emergency repair works during the coronavirus pandemic. Unite the Union publicly raised concerns, doubting the safety of repair workers and social distancing guidelines during maintenance activity in tenants’ homes. Although it now seems unlikely that the UK will ever return to a full lockdown, local authorities would be wise to implement remote technologies whenever they can to avoid reputational damage in future. Councils, after all, have a duty of care to vulnerable adults in their communities.
Technology can help to ensure that smaller repairs can take place remotely. AR tools provide practical, visual guidance to tenants and carers. Experts can ensure that they only attend onsite when absolutely necessary. As a bonus, remote tools reduce the amount of time staff have to spend fielding complaints via telephone lines, as tenants with smartphones can be instantly connected to fix minor issues themselves.
Is it possible for councils to provide round-the-clock out of hours repairs?
Yes, but doing so effectively will represent quite a dramatic change in strategy for councils. No longer can local authorities be reactive to crises. Embracing better systems means that councils can dramatically increase their fixing capacity without significant upfront investment.
Councils will also have the power to carefully appraise how effective their partnerships are based on first time fix rates and other repair criteria. In turn, repair companies themselves can save money by spending less on petrol and other costs associated with vehicle dispatches, to say nothing of the increase in productivity.
Resources might currently be tight at local councils. But that’s the best reason to deploy digital solutions. Thanks to new tools like Fixzy Assist, councils can scale up services by using innovative tech that connects tenants to experts instantly.
Protecting citizens with digitised council emergency repairs
In the aftermath of the pandemic, councils simply can’t afford to stick with inefficient processes any longer. Infrastructure that already supports emergency repairs can offer a blueprint for better services that are cheaper to deliver and more efficient.
Local councils can make their services easier to manage and administer by embracing technological solutions that are intuitively designed and scalable. Accessible and rapid out of hours council repairs can increase trust amongst local communities at a critical time.
With direct onboarding offered by the best platform providers, there is no reason why local authorities can’t better protect their citizens with digitised council repairs. Using straightforward digital platforms like Fixzy Assist can save councils from incurring fines and ensure they are in a more resilient position to deal with unpredictable crises in the future.
Streamline out of hours council repairs with Fixzy Assist
Fixzy Assist is a remote video guidance solution powered by computer vision AI, AR and deep learning. We provide the powerful tools needed to support local councils to deliver rapid and urgent repairs up and down the UK.
Fixzy’s easy-to-use, web-based app helps by proactively assessing damages and home repairs. Keep everyone calm and capture essential data with just a couple of clicks.
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