May 20, 2015

United Welsh, Mears and Celtic Horizons took top honours in the ‘Maintaining High Quality Homes’ category at the 2015 UK Housing Awards ceremony in London. The awards, jointly organised by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and Inside Housing, are regarded as the most prestigious in recognising excellence in the sector.

The judges said that the partnership “clearly demonstrated a strong commitment to developing customer service standards through embedding a strong leadership culture through investment in employee training and reinvestment back into the communities they serve.”

Commenting on the award Anthony Whittaker, Chief Executive of United Welsh, said: “It is a testament to the strong relationship between United Welsh and Mears that Celtic Horizons has so quickly become an award-winning organisation.”

The Mears team, headed by Jane Nelson, has worked hard to ensure the services delivered to tenants by Celtic Horizons are consistently at the highest standard with a culture of continuous improvement and tenant involvement.

Jane Nelson, Mears Executive Director said: “We are pleased to be working in a truly collaborative way and would like to thank each and every member of the partnership for their continued commitment to maintaining Celtic Horizons as an innovative and award-winning model through providing top class maintenance services.”

United Welsh entered into a partnership with Mears to deliver its maintenance services in partnership with Celtic Horizons, a subsidiary of United Welsh.

The contract was rolled out in April 2013 and has a total potential value of £145 million over fifteen years. Celtic Horizons is the first wholly owned subsidiary of its kind, delivering total asset management and maintaining properties located in 11 local authority areas in South Wales.

The aim of the collaboration was to develop a model that will improve customer service standards and reduce the time it takes to resolve enquiries from the first point of contact. It was decided that a subsidiary which is wholly owned by the social landlord, United Welsh, working in partnership with a commercial partner, would benefit tenants and give them greater involvement in the delivery of maintenance and all property related services whilst also delivering value for money.

Mears, the first private sector repairs and maintenance contractor to win the government’s Customer Service Excellence standard, an award also held by United Welsh, were chosen as the preferred partner.  Celtic Horizons directly employs over 140 local people, several of them tenants of United Welsh, in delivering asset management services including gas servicing, repairs, grounds maintenance and caretaking as well as repairs.