10 September 2019 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Derbyshire County Council is planning to set up joint venture companies with Suffolk County Council to look after its cleaning and caretaking services, and some design and construction services.
The proposals, part of Derbyshire's 'Enterprising Council' approach, also set out how to sell surplus properties.
The plans will be discussed at a meeting of the council's cabinet on 11 September. If the cabinet agrees, then negotiations will start with an organisation called Public Sector Plc (PSP) about setting up a partnership to support the work. If this is approved, a lead contractor will be sought to carry out major construction projects.
Councillor Angelique Foster, cabinet member for council services, said: "We decided earlier this year that we would look for other organisations to run our cleaning, caretaking, and some design and construction services, as part of our Enterprising Council approach.
"We have spent the past few months looking at what the best option might be, and we are recommending that we start talks with Suffolk County Council about subsidiary companies they already have running these services.
"Keeping cleaning and caretaking within the public sector is the best possible option for our customers, in the main schools across the county, our employees, and offers best value for money for council taxpayers at this time.
"If cabinet agrees, then we will start detailed negotiations and would hope, if all goes well, that our employees could move over to work for Suffolk and its subsidiaries by next March.
"Suffolk offered the best fit for our services, and have a good track record of working for schools. If employees transfer then this will be done under the usual procedures, with their employment rights protected. "The proposals also will ensure that we offer as much work as possible to small local contractors to support the Derbyshire economy."
The proposals are to:
Set up a joint venture company with Suffolk County Council's subsidiary Vertas to run all cleaning and caretaking services. All cleaning and caretaking employees would move to work for the new company.
Set up a joint venture company with Suffolk County Council's subsidiary Concertus to provide design services for construction projects costing over £50,000. Some design employees would move to the new company.
Continue to provide design and construction services for projects that cost under £10,000, and continue to design and manage projects that cost up to £50,000 and all disability facility projects. These employees would continue to be employed by Derbyshire County Council.
Continue to use small local contractors to carry out construction projects costing between £10,000 and £50,000.
Appoint a lead contractor to carry out construction projects that cost over £50,000. Employees will move to work for the new lead contractor. This contractor may choose to use other contractors and will be encouraged to use local firms.
Set up a partnership with a company called Public Sector Plc and work with it to identify surplus land and properties and make best use of them, which could include development or disposal.