3 April 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Oxford Direct Services, the commercial division of Oxford City Council, has set up two wholly owned local authority trading companies that begin operating this week.
Through these companies, Oxford Direct Services plans to deliver £10.4 million in value back to the council over the next four years, which can be put towards council services.
The commitment is the next step in Oxford Direct Services' plan to grow its commercial business, alongside improving the efficiency of services provided for the council.
It will continue to expand its contracts with businesses and organisations offering services such as building services, highways and engineering, commercial waste, large goods vehicle and MoT testing, vehicle repairs, landscaping, grounds maintenance and pest control.
Oxford Direct Services Limited will primarily serve Oxford City Council, and Oxford Direct Services Trading Limited for commercial work. More than 700 frontline council services staff have transferred to the new organisations.
The city council remains the shareholding owner of the organisations and, in practice, the services will continue to operate seamlessly as Oxford Direct Services delivering services for the council and externally.
Oxford Direct Services was set up in 2012 as part of an innovative change programme. Oxford City Council consolidated most its frontline services into one organisation to serve the community's needs and supply services to local organisations and businesses. To date, Oxford Direct Services has returned £4.7 million to the council through cost savings and returns from its commercial activities.
Tim Sadler, chairman of Oxford Direct Services, said: "The new structure will allow Oxford Direct Services to thrive for the good of the community. It will allow the organisation to continue to grow its financial contributions to the council, continue to keep the costs of council service delivery down and provide additional, good-quality job opportunities and apprenticeships over the coming years."