Rushcliffe Borough Council will wrap up a street cleansing and ground maintenance company it set up and bring the whole service in-house to achieve ‘value for money.’
The council’s existing contract for grounds maintenance and street cleansing services is due to expire at the end of August 2022.
Operations include maintaining open spaces including Rushcliffe Country Park, public toilets, car parks, cemeteries, sports fields and play areas.
Last year, it commissioned private experts to conduct a review into Streetwise Environmental Ltd (SWE) and consider whether the current service achieves value for money.
It advised the council would be unlikely to achieve savings by going to the open market and that either a further contract extension or ‘insourcing’ would be the most viable option.
The council says there has been much talk over the risks that council-owned companies can pose to the stability of a local authority such as in Croydon and Slough, where company failings were factors that contributed towards the issuing of Section 114 Notices.
Cllr Simon Robinson (Con), leader of the council said: “Whilst we are not in this position with SWE, these reports have led to a shift in approach to local authority commercialisation – it is therefore prudent to consider the companies’ future at this time.”
The leader is calling on councillors at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, 8 February to back the plans to move the model in-house.
SWE is a wholly-owned council company set up in 2014, to deliver the council’s street cleansing and grounds maintenance, while generating some extra commercial income.
There are two companies with Streetwise Env Ltd (trading) acting as the trading arm, and Streetwise Env Ltd (teckal) providing the main council contract.
The company itself has made very little profit after tax over the years it has been in operation.
It is proposed that the services are moved to an inhouse delivery model by September 2022.
Cllr Robinson said: “It is important to emphasise that SWE has operated relatively successfully over the last few years and that the proposal to insource the service is not due to any failure on the part of the existing company.”
Total savings from the move could equate to £200,220, the council says.
Further savings may happen once the council has more fully interrogated the position on existing contracts as it transitions to providing the service internally and moves away from the company.