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An innovative new partnership has been formed to provide more than 14,000 council tenants living in Peterborough with a first class responsive repairs and maintenance support service.

In a unique development prior to the transfer of 10,200 homes to Cross Keys Homes, a new social landlord, Peterborough City Council has partnered with three companies to provide state-of-the-art IT and mobile telecom systems and support. Cognito, FSI and Xmbrace have joined forces to provide the Council’s Contract Services Department with a maintenance management and scheduling solution, which will streamline communication with mobile repair and maintenance teams.

Cognito will provide the hand-held mobile technology as a fully managed and supported service to enable real-time communication between the call centre and some 60 trades people operating across the city. FSI will provide the core business and work management system, together with a range of professional services managing the integration with existing Council business systems. Xmbrace will deliver the appointments diary and work scheduling system. The three suppliers are working together to provide a seamless, integrated solution.

Cross Keys Homes will become a separate body from the Council, with its own staff and management board, which includes tenants, independent housing specialists and Council representatives. From October they will be responsible for meeting the Government’s Decent Homes Standard by 2010, which will involve major modernisation of the housing stock. In addition the organisation will invest millions in environmental and social improvements.

As part of the transfer, Cross Keys Homes will partner with the Council’s Contract Services Department, which provides a range of services such as building repairs and maintenance together with gas and electrical safety checks, refurbishment of empty properties, graffiti removal and grounds maintenance.

In creating this maintenance framework, the Council and Cross Keys Homes recognised the need to develop a modern and automated system of work scheduling and communication liaison between call centre staff and field-based trades people.

Wayne Seaborn, Head of Asset Management for Cross Keys Homes, explains: “With a project of this scale we realised that it would be essential to have in place a modern scheduling system and the ability of the repairs and maintenance team to communicate with each other in real-time.”

Adrian Sibley, Head of Strategic Support for Peterborough City Council, adds: “This technology will enable us to deliver a vastly improved service, for example, by handling more appointments, reducing unnecessary delays in processing work, keeping our trades people better informed and reducing costs.”

Mr Seaborn believes other local authorities undergoing similar transitions could adopt the project. “This is a flagship project designed to deliver real value to our Cross Keys Homes’ tenants. We’re very confident of its success and urge others looking to achieve similar objectives to follow our progress closely over the coming months.”

He adds: “We believe this project will put Peterborough and Cross Keys Homes at the forefront of best practices for responsive and cyclical repair works.”

Commenting on why these companies were chosen, Chris Halliday, IT Manager for Contract Services, said: “Having reviewed what was on offer in the market, Cognito, FSI and Xmbrace were clear candidates for a partnership that would tailor its services accordingly. All of them have an excellent track record and demonstrated how they could work together seamlessly to deliver an appropriate solution, which will enable us to further develop and improve our services to tenants.”


For further press information, please contact:

Katie King
Tel : 0208 360 2442
Mobile : 07974 161 179

Glen Goldsmith
Tel: 01483 811 234
Mobile: 07812 766 338

Editors Notes

About Cognito

Founded in 1992 Cognito was the first company in the UK to be awarded a licence to run a radio network for data transmission. Today Cognito enables client business to harness the power of corporate information out in the field, utilising GPRS and GSM technology.

Cognito delivers a range of services that enable corporate customers to enhance workflow, reduce administration, minimise costs and increase productivity by improving the flow of communications between central systems and mobile workers.

For additional information visit, or email at, or by telephone on +44 (0)1635 508200.

About FSI (FM Solutions) Ltd –

Originally formed in 1990, FSI was one of the first companies to market a user-friendly windows based maintenance package, with wider functionality than existing software packages.

With over a decade of experience, FSI, owner and developer of the Concept software range, has become the leader in development of computer aided facilities management (CAFM) solutions.

For additional information visit, or email Sally Wotton, Business Development & Marketing Assistant,, or by telephone on + 44 (0) 1708 251900.

About Xmbrace

Xmbrace is a specialist systems integration and consulting company. We work exclusively with organisations involved in the provision of social housing maintenance and have particular expertise with the introduction of a fully appointed service. Our business is currently driven by the sale and implementation of OPTI-TIME, a sophisticated real-time workforce scheduling system that is already established as the market leader, and we have built on this experience to develop a mobile data solution that we believe will revolutionise the sector. Website:

Contact details: David Todd at Xmbrace Limited, CP House, Otterspool Way, Watford WD25 8HP. Tel: 020 7953 5043. Fax: 01923 650344. email:

The Decent Homes Standard

In 2000, the government made a commitment to bring all public sector homes up to a decent standard, establishing a 10 year target and an interim target to:

"ensure that all social housing meets set standards of decency by 2010, by reducing the number of households living in social housing that does not meet these standards by a third between 2001 and 2004, with most of the improvement taking place in the most deprived local authority areas".

This places a responsibility on councils to set a timetable for eliminating backlog repairs in their stock, carrying out ongoing maintenance and take the necessary actions to ensure these targets are met. To achieve this, authorities will need to:

+ assess the level and type of disrepair within their stock, compared to the decent homes standard, and how much will it cost to bring homes up to standard

+ use an analysis of the local housing market, particularly relating to demand and supply for council housing to decide whether and where stock should be demolished

+ assess the options available to them for raising the necessary investment, to determine which are viable and which is the preferred option

+ work to improve their repairs, maintenance and improvement services to ensure they are achieving the best value for money

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of 2thefore in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit