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Backlog of council repair jobs expected to take four months

Backlog of council repair jobs expected to take four months

Osborne operate from Hawker House in Langley.

Repairs to council properties could take up to four months to complete after it was revealed there was a backlog of 1,500 jobs.

Councillors were given an update about Osborne – the council’s service partner for repairs and maintenance – at the Neighbourhoods and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel on Monday night.

The virtual meeting heard from Richard West, interim Director of Place and Development at Slough Borough Council, who said some Osborne staff had been furloughed during the pandemic and only essential works were being carried out.

He said: “Our current feeling is that this could take up to four months to sort the entire backlog.

“We need to put them [Osborne] under pressure to put more teams up and we need to support them where we can and perhaps even step in and provide alternative sub-contactors to try and get this backlog cleared.

“It really depends when we get into the nitty- gritty of what has to be done quickly and what can wait a bit longer.”

After the meeting, a spokesman from Osborne told the Express: "The safety and wellbeing of Slough residents and our workforce has been the priority during the Civid-19 pandemic.

"The vast majority of emergency and critical service activities including gas inspections have been carried out but any non-critical repairs that could not be undertaken safely within Government Guidelines were suspended during the pandemic. As a consequences most non-essential services were closed down in the interests of public health. 

“We are working very closely with Slough Borough Council to ensure repairs can safely be undertaken within new Government guidelines specifically designed for working within people’s homes.

“We are reintroducing non-essential works where possible and we will strive to complete the consequential back-log in a timely, efficient and safe manner.”

Earlier this month it was revealed Osborne would be making some of its workers redundant.

It introduced a series of measures during the pandemic to protect jobs, including furlough, cuts to pay and working hours and freezing non-critical business activity.

A spokesman said: “Osborne has not been immune to the impacts of COVID-19. The impacts of this virus will be long- lasting and it is critical that the size of our organisation carefully reflects our forecasted levels of activity.”

It had restructured its operations and proposed to make around 75 redun-dant, seven per cent of its workforce, he said.

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