Celtic Horizons is launched

Celtic Horizons, a wholly owned subsidiary created through a unique partnership between United Welsh, the South Wales based housing association and Mears the UK’s leading provider of Repairs & Maintenance services, has begun to deliver its services to communities in South Wales.

Celtic Horizons is the first wholly owned subsidiary of its kind in Wales; created in consultation with staff and tenants to deliver total asset management solutions for United Welsh spanning 11 local authority areas in South Wales. The contract which was rolled out on March 28th has a total potential value of £145 million over fifteen years.

The procurement process, which led to the creation of Celtic Horizons, started in February 2012 with the aim being 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 with United Welsh. It was decided during extensive consultation that a wholly owned subsidiary would most benefit tenants and give them greater involvement in the delivery of estates services.

Celtic Horizons will give scope to mould and improve service delivery and introduce new concepts such as the Annual Property Service, a trial of which has been part of a recent research study by Bath University. It is a concept of lean working to improve efficiency and maximise resources.

Although a number of tenants engaged with the process, four tenants each gave over 100 hours of their time to ensure that throughout the process there was input and feedback from those who experience the service. At a ‘welcome’ event on March 28th these tenants were recognised and thanked by both organisations. The process of consultation will not cease with the launch of the Celtic Horizons, in fact, more tenants will be engaged and meet monthly to discuss the subsidiary and undergo professional training to critique its service delivery.

The new 91 strong team were welcomed to their premises on Van Road in Caerphilly Business Park from where they will deliver their services to United Welsh’s 4700 properties.

Lynda Sagona, Director of Housing and Communities for United Welsh and lead on the delivery of Celtic Horizons said; “28th March has been a landmark day for the United Welsh Group seeing the launch of Celtic Horizons, a unique partnership with Mears, the first of its kind in Wales.

Celtic Horizons has been developed with the enthusiastic and invaluable input of our tenants and staff and today we have welcomed 70 new employees.

This exciting model provides us with a platform to deliver our asset management services in new and innovative ways whilst maximising the benefits to our customers and communities.”

Jane Nelson, Executive Director Mears said; ‘United Welsh, Mears and local tenants have worked really hard to get us to where we are today. Mears are proud to be working with United Welsh and its subsidiary, Celtic Horizons and we look forward to a bright future providing the best possible levels of customer service.”

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