Parks and green spaces contract to be taken over by council company

The contract to maintain Liverpool’s parks and green spaces is to be handed to the council-owned company which operates the refuse, recycling and street cleansing service. 

The Cabinet has approved a proposal that Liverpool Street Scene Services Limited – a wholly owned Local Authority Trading Company (LATco) – takes over the £6.8 million annual parks and grounds maintenance arrangement.

The work includes the development, management and maintenance of parks, trees, playgrounds, outdoor sports and leisure facilities, cemeteries, crematoria gardens and playgrounds.

The contract is currently run by a joint venture between the city council and Glendale – Glendale-Liverpool Ltd – which is due to end in October 2018.

It is estimated that the proposed ten year deal could save up to £7 million by doing away with management fees, integrating management and supervisory functions and making efficiencies on the purchase and hire of equipment.

Following a soft market testing exercise, the city council has decided against holding a competitive tender process, because it is not believed it would deliver a better or timelier outcome.

This is allowed under a rule known as the ‘Teckal exemption’, which enables public authorities to enter into service contracts with wholly owned companies without going out to the market.

Councillor Steve Munby, Cabinet member for City Services, said: “We’ve taken a long hard look at whether we should go out to tender on this, but believe that that the time and cost of doing so would wipe out any efficiency savings and not deliver anything better.

“Liverpool Street Scene Services Limited has already delivered efficiency savings in in refuse, recycling and street cleansing – and because it is owned by the council and not shareholders we are able to reinvest the cash and make our money go further, such as by clearing fly tipping or increasing street cleansing.

“We believe we can do the same with the grounds maintenance contract, and deliver efficiencies ourselves better than the private sector could do. We already face finding huge savings across the council in the next few years due to reductions in Government funding, so it is vital we make the most of every single penny that we have.”

A separate report to the Cabinet approved plans for the city council to extend its existing contracts with Liverpool Street Scene Services Limited for refuse, recycling and street cleansing to 10 years.

It follows improvements in refuse and recycling such as Bank Holiday working, increased productivity due to the introduction of new vehicles and a significant rise in recycling rates.

Street cleansing has seen similar improvements, including new working patterns which have increased peak time working, additional cleansing in the city centre and a drop in staff absenteeism.

The extended contract will see the implementation of seven-day working across the city and investment in vehicles, infrastructure and premises.

Liverpool Waterfront