Notting Hill Genesis identify disrepairs process improvements

Reducing backlogs and improving performance

NHG disrepairs workshop with Stoffer Bruun at Ad Esse Consulting

Notting Hill Genesis (NHG) are one of the largest housing associations in London and the South East, owning & managing over 66,000 homes. This social housing provider worked with Ad Esse Consulting to improve their disrepairs process after a spike in claims resulted in a growing backlog. Ad Esse supported the team to redesign a streamlined process. 

A sector-wide challenge

In recent years, the social housing sector has experienced a sharp rise in the number of disrepair claims, and NHG were facing a growing backlog of open cases. NHG wanted to improve their disrepairs performance to keep tenants safe in their homes, whilst also avoiding extremely high legal costs associated with longer case duration.  

NHG contacted Ad Esse Consulting for support with redesigning a more streamlined disrepairs process that could better meet the increased demand. By optimising their current disrepairs process, the team could improve their productivity and complete critical process steps quicker. 

Reviewing the current disrepairs process

Ad Esse Consultant, Stoffer Bruun conducted diagnostic exercises to identify what key factors and process issues were contributing towards longer disrepair case duration. Stoffer interviewed front-line staff individually to understand current ways of working, observed how building surveyors completed on-site surveys and report write-ups, and captured the detailed end-to-end process using value-stream mapping. Together, these exercises helped us build a comprehensive picture of the existing disrepairs approach. Most importantly, it highlighted where there was room for improvement.  

Improvement 1: Single-piece flow

Our diagnostic showed a significant (2 week) delay between completing disrepairs surveys and their associated reports being written up, which affects overall report quality and delays the commencement of legal negotiations. More survey appointments were booked for surveyors each week than they could write reports for, causing a backlog of outstanding reports to build up. 

To address this, we recommended that reports be completed immediately after the survey and before moving onto their next survey appointment. This introduced a control to ensure surveyors would only receive a feasible number of surveys each week, and adopting the principle of single-piece flow eliminates any delays between these two tasks. This solution has the double benefit of eliminating a report backlog and improving report quality because important survey details are captured immediately. 

Improvement 2: Reducing the number of property visits

We identified an opportunity to gather all required works-related information from the property in a single visit by combining the survey and scope of works appointments together. The existing approach of scoping the works after receiving legal approval to proceed was drastically extending total case time. In most cases, the scope would not vary from the original survey. Therefore, completing scoping works at the same time as the survey was seen as viable solution.  

It also had the potential to streamline legal negotiations as expected work costs would already be known at this stage. Minimising the number of property visits greatly simplifies and shortens the end-to-end process, as well as reduces the risk of no access and level of disruption caused to customers. A win-win solution for NHG and their customers.  

Improvement 3: Minimising steps in the process

The value stream mapping exercise highlighted that a single case required a high number of (19) handovers across 8 different internal roles, resulting in a disjointed and overcomplicated process that was prone to delays. It became clear that the redesigned process needed to be far simpler and more streamlined to reduce average case duration.  

We managed to reduce the number of handovers across the process by 63% by removing non-value adding sign offs for survey reports and schedule of works, combining process steps together and simplifying case allocation. The combination of all these smaller improvements to remove process waste were able to greatly streamline the overall process.  

Implementing all our process recommendations has potential to reduce average case duration by 50%. 

“Following the success of the works done by Ad Esse reviewing our Planned Delivery service, there was another need for an external pair of eyes to review our Disrepair function. 

Ad Esse again answered the call with their detailed methodical and professional approach to really get under the issue and provide recommendations to make necessary improvements. 

The team and function is now on an upward trajectory tackling Disrepair, so huge thanks to Ad Esse, Stoffer and co. again.”  

(Asif Khan, Head of Asset Management at Notting Hill Genesis) 

Reduce backlogs and improve performance in your organisation with Ad Esse’s process / service review. We work with social purpose organisations, like social housing, charities, and local authorities. Let’s have a chat about how we can help you to improve performance at your organisation. Email