Contracts merged to save cash

IMPORTANT jobs across North Somerset have been contracted out to an external company at a cost of nearly �2million a year.

Glendale Grounds Management Ltd will be responsible for street cleaning and park and tree maintenance services from April.

The changes are set to be introduced as North Somerset Council looks to make unprecedented savings across the district.

Currently the authority has three separate contracts for grounds maintenance, tree work and street cleaning, all of which are scheduled to finish on March 31.

Now the services will be combined into a single contract, which the authority says will deliver greater efficiency and reduce overheads.

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The decision to give the job to Glendale was passed with minor opposition at a meeting of the full council last week.

Contracted staff will also be used for other tasks on a flexible basis, like graffiti removal and dealing with fly-tipping.

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The new contract will mean rural roads are not cleaned unless the public alerts the council of any problems.

Councillor Peter Bryant, executive member for environment, said the new contract would ensure the authority reaches its �765,000 street cleaning saving target between 2011-2015.

He said: “With this contract we have had to make some refinements on the services we are providing.

“Currently we sweep the highways across the district and on roads in rural areas we find there is very little to sweep up. As a result we will be reactive rather than proactive, and will need reports from councillors and the public. We are confident we will maintain a first class service.”

The annual cost comes in at nearly �2million for an initial period of seven years, with the option to extend that by another seven.

Glendale is part of the Parkwood Holdings Group. Another company within the group, Parkwood Leisure, currently operates leisure service contracts on behalf of the council.

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