Housing bosses in South Tyneside are aiming to make booking repairs easier for tenants by going online.
South Tyneside Homes (STH) manages 18,000 council houses on behalf of South Tyneside Council and currently has a range of way for tenants to report repairs to their properties including live webchat, forms, phone lines and email.
New plans, revealed at the council’s Housing Performance Panel, aim to make the process easier for tenants.
They includes a new ‘customer portal’ which will allow council tenants to choose and schedule their own repairs online.
Head of corporate services for STH, Graham Priestley, said the scheme would provide extra options for tenants.
He told councillors: “Tenants will be able to diagnose their repair using the diagnostic tool.
“What they can do is appoint their own repair and it will diagnose what is required such as a plumber for an hour and they can select the appointment that they would like.”
According to a council report, the new customer portal will be built by the end of this year - allowing STH time to test the technology and work with tenants.
This, the report said, will ensure the portal will be “effective in offering options and services to customers” when launched.
Customers will still have the option to report repairs by telephone if they choose to.
The changes come against a backdrop of wider technology revamp for STH - including the launch of a new website in February or March this year.
Other schemes include a specially-designed I. system allowing housing staff to send and receive information when working away from the office.
Following discussion, the panel agreed to host a workshop for councillors in future to allow them to try out the technologies used by STH.
Coun Jim Foreman said: “It would be an interesting exercise to see how they physically work and then you could take the information to your surgeries,
“It gives us the ability to talk to residents from the point of full on information and understanding.”
The most recent STH Tenants Annual Report revealed 36,875 routine repairs were reported between April 2017 to April 2018 - with 99.6% per cent delivered within 20 days.
For more information, visit: www.southtynesidehomes.org.uk
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service