A HOUSING repairs contractor hired by Basildon Council has paid more than £3,500 in compensation after it failed to turn up to appointments.

Mitie, the firm used by the council, had to pay £1,730 to people for missing appointments in the six months up to September. In total Mitie was fined £3,520 by the council and had to fork out to compendate people who had taken time off work. July was the worst month with Mitie paying out £1,407.

A newer, more advanced, appointment system was introduced by Mitie earlier this year, which is quicker and more accurate than the previous system, but despite the missed appointments the man responsible for housing at Basildon Council says the new system is working well.

Councillor Phil Turner, deputy leader and cabinet member for housing and landlord services, said: "Of 36,000 expected appointments this year just 173 were missed in the first six months which is just 0.009 per cent of all jobs.

“However, the council are under no illusions that the money lost is coming out of the public purse and that is unacceptable. We are working closely with officers on how we can improve the service further."

One unsatisfied woman, who wishes to remain nameless, said she had contacted Mitie after she had water dripping through her ceiling. The firm had turned off her electricity supply but then told her the work could not be completed after a bank holiday, several days later, despite the standard for heating repairs being 24 hours.

A spokesperson for Mitie said: “Our satisfaction rate is 99.5 per cent and we are extremely pleased with this number.”