Havering Council ends contract with home repairs company

Havering Council is parting ways with the company in charge of its council home repairs after months of “poor performance”.

Breyer Group, awarded the £35million contract in 2014, failed to complete more than a fifth of repairs on time between May and September last year.

According to a report prepared for councillors, over the last few months “performance has dropped” due to COVID delays, increased workload, labour and material shortages and Breyer knowing that their contract is “winding down”.

Housing repairs giant Mears has now been awarded a ten year contract and will take over in April this year.

Assistant director of housing property services Garry Knights said it’s “unfortunate” Breyer Group is below target but that he is focusing on ensuring it completes any emergency repairs before April.

He told a Havering towns and communities committee on January 31: “To be fair they have struggled with supply and labour and have had challlenges with COVID… not everything is their fault.

“Mears will be able to take it over and get us back to where we need to be… we know communication [with tenants] is not good at the moment.”

He added that the penalties for failing to meet target agreed in the current contract with Breyer “never really acheived the desired results”.

Mr Knights hopes that the new 10-year contract with Mears will be better managed, in part thanks to “incentives” to perform well and a new IT system.

However, committee member Cllr Chris Wilkins warned: “Mears can talk a good show Garry, we all know we’ve all been burned. It’s about being robust, up-front, setting targets and standards.

Mr Knights replied: “The documents and requirements have been set really tight, there’s no wiggle room, from day one we’ve been clear.”

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter