Refuse collection plan ‘will not lead to any job cuts’

Havant Borough Council is set to join up with a public company, Norse, to run its operational department which covers refuse, street cleaning and allotments
Havant Borough Council is set to join up with a public company, Norse, to run its operational department which covers refuse, street cleaning and allotments
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  • Council looking to save £1.5m by 2020
  • Investigations option of setting up a joint venture company
  • Councillor says residents will see no difference in services and no jobs will be lost
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THE man in charge of setting up a company to run council services says the deal will save £350,000 and will not lead to any job losses.

Havant Borough Council is set to join up with a public company, Norse, to run its operational department which covers refuse, street cleaning and allotments.

The Norse option was the best way forward to achieve the savings we have to make to protect the services and jobs

Cllr Tony Briggs

The services cost the council £3.6m a year and Councillor Tony Briggs, aho is responsible for the environment, said the deal would immediately save 10 per cent.

At a scrutiny meeting on Wednesday councillors voted unanimously to go forward with the plan to set up a joint venture company.

Cllr Briggs said: ‘The board scrutinised all the options and came to the conclusion that in the interests of preserving the services to our taxpayers and preserving the jobs of our workers, the Norse option was the best way forward to achieve the savings we have to make to protect the services and jobs.

‘Residents won’t see any changes in services at all. We will be using the same vehicles, the same staff and providing the same levels of services. We’re looking to enhance the options on offer to residents. For example, at the moment we don’t do kerbside glass collection but that could be on offer.

‘We’ve got to make £1.5m worth of savings by 2010. This deal will provide savings immediately in the order of 10 per cent – around £350,000.’

Cllr Briggs said there will be no redundances and there will be scope to employee more staff because Norse will be able to bid for work in the private sector and from other local authorities.

Profits will be split 50/50 with the council.

James Smith, the Unison regional organiser for the south east, said they would much prefer services to be kept in-house but added:

‘Of the contractors considered by Havant Borough Council to date, Norse is the preferred provider.

‘They have a strong staff retention rate, a record of working positively with trade unions and are offering assurances of protecting terms and conditions post transfer. These assurances have been kept during transfers elsewhere within the country.’

Emsworth resident Ray Cobbett said he feels councils are being forced into making deals with outside companies because of cuts in central government funding.

It will go before cabinet and full council in July.