STAFF have been praised for their hard work and dedication as Flintshire Council recorded a big improvement in its housing maintenance performance.

For a number of years the council’s housing stock had been blighted by a crippling repairs list, but in June head of housing Claire Budden announced a series of measures to improve the service and boost productivity levels.

Now councillors have praised the work of staff who had helped reduce the backlog of empty council houses and improved performance across the repair and maintenance service.

It comes after a report to the council’s housing scrutiny committee said there had been a reduction of vacant properties by just under 30 per cent on December 2009, down to 160 properties.

There has also been a fall in the number of repairs awaited, which are down 62 per cent.

Cllr Bernie Attridge said: “I can see within the report the improvements. There are lots and lots of positives in it.”

Members of the committee voted to thank the staff for their hard work.

Initiatives to improve the service included the introduction of mobile working,
allowing employees to validate when a job is completed on a mobile electronic device rather than having it signed off manually, while working hours have also been extended to include Saturday mornings and at least one evening per week.

Ms Budden said: “We are making progress on empty properties. It is down to about two per cent of total stock that is a big improvement.”

Cllr Helen Brown, executive member for housing, said the scale of the work done was “not to be taken lightly”.

She said: “The workforce has been working 110 per cent. There has been a marked improvement and members are appreciative of that. Claire has made a real difference as well. We have turned a corner.”