SETTING up a company to run council services has moved a step closer.
The Conservative cabinet of Havant Borough Council voted to plough ahead with the plan to join up with a public company Norse to run its operational department.
The whole point of this joint venture is to protect services which protects jobsSteve Perkins
It would mean services such as refuse, street cleaning and allotments would be run by a new joint venture company.
Leaders approved officers to enter into discussions with Norse with a view to forming the company.
An outline business case should be submitted to the cabinet by September and an extra £75,000 has been allocated from council coffers to ensure the project can start by February next year.
The scheme is considered vital by leaders as the authority must save £1.4m by 2018/2019. The deal, subject to final approval by the full council at a later meeting, would save the council £350,000.
Steve Perkins, executive head of environmental services, told the cabinet it was ‘certainly not about replacing people with equipment. It’s about developing services’.
He added: ‘The whole point of this joint venture is to protect services which protects jobs.’
Councillor David Guest wanted to make absolutely sure that there was no risk to the council.
He recalled a situation many years ago when the council had to buy new refuse trucks after a partnership deal ended.
Mr Perkins said: ‘Certainly we will be making sure the council’s assets and services would be protected from any eventuality.’
He said there would be the opportunity for the council to increase its income through the joint venture company offering services to other authorities and private companies.
He said there were likely to be opportunities in the area, considering Norse’s coverage in other parts of the country.
‘The south coast is a missing piece of the jigsaw,’ he said.
Cllr Tony Briggs said: ‘the joint venture company was the ‘best option’ to safeguard services.