Park Hill, half-abandoned council housing estate, Sheffield, England - Paolo Margari (, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia CommonsTotalmobile has won the contract to replace an ageing system at Sheffield City Council to manage housing maintenance and repairs for its 44,000 homes. Sheffield City Council has inherited that ageing solution following the insourcing of the Housing Repairs and Maintenance Service from Kier. The wider Target Operating Model Project (TOM Project) found that the existing IT Systems hindered processes within the council. An example is the duplication of effort due to the lack of integration with other Council systems.

It considered three approaches.

  1. To continue to operate the existing system and to implement incremental improvements as resources allowed. This was dismissed as the software did not have the capabilities that the council was looking for.
  2. To procure and add incremental solutions to the existing systems. While this might have met some of the requirements, it would have increased the total number of applications supported and potentially increased the amount of manual entry due to a lack of integration.
  3. To look for a replacement which was the option it took.

The council reviewed the market in 2020 with three key objectives in mind:

  • the reduction in the manual handling of information
  • the timely allocation of operatives and materials to repair requests
  • achieving closer control of costs and performance

After a selection process, it chose the Totalmobile Connect solution with a budget cost of £541,000, including £88,000 for a parallel run.

What does Totalmobile Connect deliver?

The connect solution will digitize the existing processes and should provide a user-friendly way for customers. It will enable residents to book a repair appointment simply and quickly. With more than 200,000 repair jobs every year the Totalmobile solution will also increase the efficiency of the repairs through better scheduling for maintenance engineers. This should also help reduce travel time and CO2 emissions.

The solution, due to complete installation in September 2021, cannot come soon enough. More than 11,000 jobs were frozen when the pandemic lockdown struck. While emergency jobs are being carried out, the council estimates a further 28,000 tasks that have not yet been reported. The challenge for Totalmobile is that data migration of active cases may be larger than originally expected, depending upon the timing.

The new solution will contain far greater flexibility than the previous system. Residents will have the option to indicate preferred times for appointments. Job assignments will be based on location and skill levels of the maintenance worker. This should ensure fewer trips and more first time repairs, increasing resident satisfaction. Maintenance workers will also receive job information while mobile, thus enabling them to assess whether they have the right skills, materials and resources to complete the task. Management can use dashboards to track jobs and see resident feedback around each job, ensuring the service quality and efficiency will increase over time.

Bringing video into the mix

Sheffield City Council is also considering the implementation of Totalmobile Remote assist. This remote video diagnostic tool will enable call centre agents to assess the requirements before booking jobs accurately. It also means that based on scripts and a knowledge base built up within the solution, problems may be resolved without the need for an engineer to attend site. The solution can also help reduce call times to call centres and increase their efficiency. Importantly, in potentially dangerous situations, they can inform residents to take measures to protect the equipment and themselves.

Mark Betts, Transport & FM Senior Service Improvement Manager at Sheffield City Council. “We’re very excited to get Totalmobile’s Connect solution rolled out to our 600-strong team, as this will transform the way we provide repairs services to our residents. The dashboards and the dynamic scheduling were the two biggest requirements for us.

“The dashboards will provide visibility of the situation of work, ensuring that we have the intelligence to react to potential issues before they impact upon planned services. In addition to this utilising the dynamic scheduling capability will help us improve the customer journey, enhancing the efficiency of our staff and empowering residents to select the time that best suits them for any required repairs.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

This is a significant win for Totalmobile. It is unclear which competitors it beat to win the contract but once implemented; it will be a significant customer reference for the forward-looking council. The TOM project is looking to deliver a next-generation housing solution for the Sheffield region. Totalmobile Connect will be an important part of that system, once it is installed and into the future.

Charles Knight, Managing Director for Public Services at Totalmobile
Charles Knight, Managing Director for Public Services at Totalmobile

Charles Knight, Managing Director for Public Services at Totalmobile. “Our Connect application will help to support massive changes within the housing repairs department. “The team needed a solution that can increase the efficiency and speed of logging repairs jobs and ensure that the right person with the right skills/materials attends the site as and when the resident needs them to. With our job management system in place, the council will be able to provide a better customer experience to make for happier residents.”


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