Byker After Refurb
Byker After Refurbishment

The Byker Community Trust (BCT) has announced plans to bring housing management services in house; and to enter into a cost sharing partnership with Isos Housing to deliver repairs and maintenance and grounds maintenance services.

The proposal, which could see savings of over £650K per year and significant improvements to the services BCT delivers to its tenants, was agreed in principle at the landlord’s Board meeting on November 5 and further consultation with tenants is now underway.

During 2015, a comprehensive review of services was undertaken by the BCT Board and Chief Executive.  As part of that review, the Board explored whether services to tenants could be improved by changing the contractual arrangements put in place when the stock transferred in 2012. The review placed specific emphasis on improvements in quality and cost, value for money and completing the promises it made to tenants at the time of transfer.

An initial proposal was submitted to the BCT Board in April this year and consultation with BCT’s tenants this summer confirmed that their top priority was the repairs and maintenance service.

The outcome of the review is that the BCT will deliver main tenancy and estate services in house and has agreed to become a partner in Isos Complete Support, part of the Isos Group, which will deliver repairs and maintenance and grounds maintenance.

1b - Internal Courtyard Bolam Coyne
The completed Internal Courtyard at Bolam Coyne

The BCT, which owns 1,800 homes, commercial property and land on the Byker Estate in Newcastle upon Tyne, was created in July 2012 following a stock transfer from Newcastle City Council after tenants on the Estate voted in favour of the transfer to the BCT in a ballot.

Jill Haley, Chief Executive of the BCT, said:

“The stock transfer offer to tenants was comprehensive with specific promises relating to investment in the Estate. Work on these promises is ongoing and we have invested £22 million to date. As part of the promises, a commitment was also made to review how services are delivered to ensure that our tenants receive the highest quality service and value for money.  The Board and myself have conducted a comprehensive review this year, including holding talks with Isos Housing about how we can work together to achieve our aims.

The proposed arrangements with Isos Housing addresses both that of the impact of Government imposed rent cuts and the delivery of stock transfer promises, with the next stage focusing on service improvement and tenant preferences.  Consultation in the coming months will take this forward.”

Paul Fiddaman, deputy chief executive of Isos Housing, said:

“We’re looking forward to working with the BCT.  Isos has a great track record for its repairs and maintenance services, and now the quality of our services will benefit the residents of Byker too.

We already own and manage nearly 17,000 homes across the North East, with 1600 of those in Newcastle, so we have the experience and infrastructure needed to take this project forward.”

The implementation of these changes will commence in July 2016.