Contractor forced into service improvement plan to tackle ‘failings’ in repairs and maintenance contract

Leeds council has forced contractor Morrison to sign up to a service improvement plan to tackle “failings” in the delivery of its £235m repairs and maintenance contract.

The improvement plan, signed in April, gives Morrison until June to up service levels. Leeds will not comment on whether it plans to remove the contractor from the £35m a year contract that runs for five years if it fails to do so.

Morrison recently lost a £9.5m a year repairs and maintenance contract with Southwark council, and is working under an improvement plan for its Birmingham council contract. It has been the subject of take-over speculation, which it denies, since reporting a six-month £12.7m loss in January.

In a statement Leeds council said the improvement plan was to ensure that “appointments will be kept, repairs will be completed to agreed timescales and to the satisfaction of tenants.”

Councillor Peter Gruen said: “I am deeply concerned that, in many cases, tenants are having to wait too long for essential repairs to be carried out. I cannot emphasise how seriously I take this.”

A spokesperson for Morrison said performance had been improving and that contractual notice had not been served on the job: “Both Morrison and Leeds councilare working together and delivering improvements to all aspects of the housing service. Both organisations are completely commitment to partnership at highest levels,” he said.