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Cumbria council brings Amey staff back in-house

Cumbria County Council is to bring contractor Amey highways maintenance staff back in-house when its contract comes to an end in 2012 in an attempt to gain more direct control over its works.

The majority of the staff will transfer back to the county council in April following a decision by the council’s cabinet not to extend Amey’s contract beyond its 31 March end date — it began in 2005. At that point, the in-house team will be responsible for delivering surfacing works, grounds and street lighting maintenance and running the Windermere Ferry and Jubilee Bridge in Barrow.

Larger and more specialist projects will be delivered through framework contracts, which Amey could be eligible to compete for.

The cabinet’s decision in January was followed by another one in February which confirmed that core services including repairing pot holes and other reactive maintenance, gritting roads, and drainage and gully maintenance would be done in-house.

“We are working closely in partnership with Amey to manage this transition and minimise any uncertainty staff may have in terms of what will happen next year when the contract ends,” said Cumbria cabinet member for highways councellor Tony Markley. “The latest cabinet decision extends that rationale to a broader range of service areas, while still maintaining the ability to contract out large jobs and specialist tasks to private sector contractors. For us, that’s the best of both worlds.”

“We’re extremely proud of the work we’ve done across the region during our seven year contract, working in partnership throughout with Cumbria County Council, to make significant improvements to the highway network for the benefit of local communities,” said Amey business director Stephen Munro.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Does this mean that the Private Sector is no longer the answer to every problem?

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  • Tim Swift

    Well now that the workforce has 7 years of private-sector experience and management, they may be in better stead to take that back to their public service roles. How long that effect, if any, lasts, is another matter.

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  • When will other Local Authorities see the light. Short time contract are a disadvantage to many staff who are being continually TUPE'd, which affects staffs pensions and does not engender loyalty to the job and employer when the staff know that within a few years they could possibly have another employer.

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  • The answer is not whether to use private or public sector (for me thats a purely political issue).

    Solid project management (PM) is required throughout the whole construction sector, this has to begin with the Engineering Council, Business bodies & Universities seeing project management as a core component to be taught to our new Engineers. The ICE needs to support this move by building PM as a key requirement of all ICE qualifications, and the Govt. resurrecting the OGC and requiring all public and private sectors to use recognised project management approaches.

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