Waterloo Park – a brighter path ahead? Photo © Julian Swainson 2020
Norwich City Council has confirmed how it will bring a range of services back in-house, following discussions with Norse.
The council’s joint venture (JV) arrangement with Norse has delivered a number of services across Norwich in recent years, but in September the council declared its intention to take these services back, to give themselves greater flexibility over their delivery.
These JV arrangements – which include Norwich Norse Environmental (NNE), Norwich Norse Building (NNB) and NPS Norwich – will transition back in phases, with NNE the first to come back in 2021. NNB and NPS Norwich will follow in 2022.
After considering a number of future operating models for these ventures, the councillors have decided to form a wholly-owned limited company, called Norwich City Services, which will incorporate services currently provided by NNE and NNB.
NPS Norwich employees will transfer directly back to the city council rather than into the newly formed company when the contract comes to an end.
Councillor Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council, said: “We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to identify the best solution to bring back this entire workforce in such a way that we have more direct control over the vital services that our residents rely on us to provide.
“During the process of transfer, our priority is to limit any impact on staff and service delivery, and that means we have and will continue to take the necessary time to ensure this transition is as seamless as possible.”
The decision to privatise the former City Works in the 1990s was controversial and followed legal advice to councillors that they may be forced to sell it off by government commissioners because of the success of the in-house department in attracting external contracts, including for work in London’s royal parks. The then Conservative Government was attacking local council services across the country under a regime known as Compulsory Competitive Tendering which wasted considerable resources and drove down standards of public service provision.