One of the north east’s largest housing associations has announced plans to in-source the repairs and maintenance of around 8,000 homes.

Morrison Facilities Services currently carries out responsive repairs and gas servicing to homes owned by County Durham Housing Group in the east of Durham.

The £6m annual contract, which began in 2009, saw almost 30,000 repairs and more than 8,500 gas services carried out in the last year alone.

Following an extensive review of the provision and the group’s aims of delivering a more modern and flexible repairs service to its 18,500 households, work to transfer around 85 employees from Morrison Facilities Services will now begin.

County Durham Housing Group already provides repairs, maintenance and gas servicing to almost 10,000 homes in the west of the county, city centre and surrounding areas. The group’s in-house function has already grown in stature to make it the 130-strong team it is today, following another successful transfer of contracts from Gentoo earlier this year.

County Durham Housing Group Chief Executive, Bill Fullen, said: “Our goal as we looked at our current repairs provision was clear. We want to develop a more convenient service for our customers.

“We believe that by bringing the contract in-house, it will allow us to manage the customer experience more effectively, and provide better value for money.

“We will be working closely with Morrison Facilities Services and keeping employees informed throughout the process. We are looking forward to enhancing the service our customers already receive.”

Colin Middlemass, Managing Director at Mears Group, said: “The partnership has been very positive for both Mears (Morrison Facilities Services) and County Durham Housing Group in delivering quality services to tenants and it is important that the final period of the contract continues in this vein. We will continue a relationship with the group beyond the end of this particular contract in delivering new homes.”

Almost 64,000 repairs are collectively carried out on County Durham Housing Group homes each year and in its most recent annual survey, 84.7% of people were satisfied with the repairs and maintenance service; a +2.7% increase on the previous year.