A NEW system for arranging and tracking repairs to council flats was expected to go live yesterday.

West Dunbartonshire Council’s housing and communities committee heard the new approach would be switched on from August 19.

The average time to do repairs is now 5.7 days, a big improvement from 10.58 days back in 2015/16.

But the committee was initially told the new system - including live updates on repairs - would be in place by 2017/18.

Even now, the new “integrated housing management system” will be introduced gradually. It will be designed to both keep track of repairs within the council but also how the public report faults and see them dealt with.

Satisfaction with the repairs service dropped in 2018/19 to 88.5 per cent down from 92.3 per cent.

Meanwhile, the average time to make medical adaptations to council homes has improved to 67.5 days from more than three months. But the council is still dealing with a number of significantly backlogged projects that are dragging down the overall figure, councillors were told.

Council leader Jonathan McColl asked when the new management system was launching, whether “weeks, months, another year”.

Peter Barry, strategic lead, housing and employability, then confirmed: “It’s such a complex implementation. We are - I’ll say it out loud - going live on Monday.

“However, we are not making any noise about that, we’re doing a soft launch, we need to get it right, we do not want to raise expectations and have people disappointed.

“There are so many people involved in it, and there are so many technical complexities.

“This week we’re switching off some of the legacy systems. There will be a transition. Bear with us while we go through this transition.

“It’s not a single day implementation. The worst day will be day one - and from then on it’s going to get better.”

Read more: IT system is slowing down repairs for council homes

Cllr McColl said the right approach was to do it slowly, but asked for elected members to be kept informed as they are often first to hear about tenant complaints.

The average time to re-let properties has fallen from 35.6 days to 23.3 days, but the satisfaction for new tenants moving in also fell from 94.5 per cent to 88 per cent.

Committee chairwoman Diane Docherty said: “Too many constituents, I’m listening to their stories about moving into new homes - not satisfied. We’ll want to see in a couple months how the numbers come back on that as well.”

The committee was told they might look to increase the time to re-let a property to better prepare homes for new tenants.

Satisfaction with temporary accommodation had also fallen, while there was a slight improvement in the time taken to finish emergency repairs - down to 3.41 hours.

Councillor Marie McNair said the greater concern from her constituents was about the quality of repairs, not the time to carry them out.