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New term, new start for council cleaning and caretaking services

Published: 31 July 2020

A new future beckons for several key council services as they are set to be transferred to joint venture companies.

The moves, part of our enterprising council approach, mean that these services will benefit from working in a commercial way, delivering improved value for money while continuing to operate by companies wholly owned by the public sector.

Cleaning and caretaking services, and the employees who work in this area, will be transferred to Vertas Derbyshire Ltd on 1 September 2020, with building design services transferring to Concertus Derbyshire Ltd on the same date.

The transfer was due to take place at the beginning of April, but due to the coronavirus pandemic was put on hold.

Over the last few weeks all transferring employees have been preparing for the move by taking part in online induction and training. New equipment and uniforms will be delivered by the end of August.

Vertas have a strong track record of providing cleaning and caretaking services for schools, and this includes the extra measures put in place since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Councillor Angelique Foster, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, said:

“We decided last year that we would look for other organisations to run our cleaning, caretaking, and design services, as part of our enterprising council approach.

“After considering all our options we have set up joint venture companies with Suffolk County Council as they have a strong track record with both facilities management and design services. Suffolk will not control the joint venture, all decisions will be taken by both parties. And any profits made will be jointly shared.

“Transferring these services to commercial companies which are wholly owned by the public sector is the best possible option for these services which provide vital support directly to the council as well as to a range of other organisations, including Derbyshire schools. This approach offers best value for money for council tax payers.

“By moving these services to the joint ventures they will be able to work more commercially and have the freedom to find new business locally and move further afield bringing financial benefits to the council as an equal partner in each of the joint ventures.

“Employees will transfer over to the new companies with their employment rights protected, and most of them will be carrying out the same job in the same place for the same pay.

“This is a key stage in the transformation of our council property service and is part of a programme of work which will continue over the coming weeks and months.”

Around 940 employees will transfer to the new companies, 900 to Vertas Derbyshire Ltd and 40 to Concertus Derbyshire Ltd. Vertas will continue to work for more than 200 schools and to clean more than 253 other sites, including council offices, libraries, adult education sites, depots and children’s centres.