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New company means more efficient services for council

Published Monday, 17 October 2011

A plan to create a new company to carry out environmental services such as rubbish collecting and street cleaning in Wellingborough could soon get the go ahead as members of the council’s resources committee attend a special meeting next week. The councillors will discuss entering into a ten-year partnership that could see a more efficient service and significant savings.

 

Back in July members of the committee heard a presentation from the Norse Group, a subsidiary of Norfolk County Council, which operates services for a large number of councils across the country. Since then, employees and councillors have visited other authorities that work with Norse and the committee is now being asked to give agreement to enter into the partnership arrangement for Wellingborough.

If the company is established it could save the council more than £2million over five years through efficiency savings, increased buying power, profit sharing arrangements, reduction of management costs and increased recycling income. There could also be the potential to take on other similar services in the area, leading to the possible creation of jobs. The new company, which would be known as Wellingborough Norse and would have a board made up of representatives from both Wellingborough Council and the Norse Group, would begin operating early next year.

Amongst their duties, the council's environmental services workers currently empty around 49,500 wheelie bins each week, prepare and maintain graves and oversee burials, clean areas around shops and schools daily, maintain parks and open spaces, look after public toilets, and remove graffiti and fly tipping. These would all continue, with employees transferred to the new company.

Councillor Paul Bell, leader of Wellingborough Council said: "What we're proposing by setting up this joint company is that the wide range of duties carried out by our environmental services teams continue, with the same employees, but the systems behind the work are more streamlined and cost effective. Norse has a lot of experience running these services for other councils and they can bring that expertise to Wellingborough.

"Our environmental services employees have given us lots of positive feedback, saying they're excited about the prospect of the partnership. They agree that the creation of Wellingborough Norse will mean that the public notice no reduction in the level of service, and in fact there is the potential for further improvement."

Peter Hawes, Managing Director of Norse Commercial Services said: "We are really looking forward to working in genuine partnership with Wellingborough Council and jointly developing plans for cost reduction, income generation and employment stability and growth."