Will Harlow Council end repairs and cleaning contract with Kier?

Politics / Thu 10th Sep 2015 at 08:03am

HOUSING repairs, street cleaning and grass cutting could be provided by a new company owned by Harlow Council under proposals published today (9 September 2015).

A report to be considered by Cabinet on 17 September 2015 proposes to transfer services in 2017, which are currently operated by Kier Harlow Ltd, to a Local Authority Trading Company (LATC) wholly owned and set up by the Council.

The contract for the provision of services by Kier Harlow Ltd expires on 31 January 2017. The Council entered into a joint venture partnership with Kier Support Services (now called Kier Services) in February 2007 which resulted in the formation of Kier Harlow Ltd.

Following a review carried out by the Council, the most cost effective option is being recommended which also provides the Council with the flexibility it needs to meet any future financial challenges it will face.

The Joint Venture Company (JVCo) provides a range of front-line services including housing repairs and maintenance, repairs to Council buildings, street cleaning, grass cutting, pest control, stray dog collection, repairs and maintenance to drainage, gullies and highways owned by Harlow Council.

If agreed, all staff and assets will transfer to the LATC with the new company providing services from 1 February 2017. The cost of the services are expected to be funded within existing budgets at no extra cost to Council Taxpayers.

Kier Harlow Ltd has been an important and successful partner for the Council and it has made significant progress in the modernisation of work processes, investment in staff training and cultural change since 2007. The proposal aims to build on the good work which has taken place.

An options appraisal carried out by the Council included independent reports by consultants which have all been taken into account as part of looking at the best way of providing these services in the future.

If the proposals are approved by Cabinet, the Council will need to establish a LATC and this will be the subject of a separate report to the Cabinet meeting in October 2015.

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