Management firm-up needed at Birmingham
Management arrangements at Birmingham Council's housing department need to be on a firm footing to turn around its no-star repairs and maintenance service, the Audit Commission has said.An update on the council's progress towards improving the service said interim managers ‘energised the process'.The report was written before the shake-up in the housing department exclusively revealed by Inside Housing (10 September). The interim managers have since left the council and their employment has been criticised by cabinet member for housing John Lines.The report praised decisions taken on a new structure for housing services – decisions which have since been overruled by the new administration.It said the council's strategic approach to stock investment had improved and a large backlog of non-urgent repairs had been cleared. Progress had also been made in renegotiating the council's two main repairs contracts.But it warned that the council still needed to deliver its programme of stock option appraisals and said overall the standard for non-urgent repairs was still poor.In response to the report, Mr Lines said: ‘I am still concerned there is a long way to go to ensure tenants, no matter where they live, receive the same high levels of service.'A formal re-inspection of the service is planned for April 2005.