As part of its commitment to seek the best possible value for money for residents, businesses and all local stakeholders, East Suffolk Council is to create a Local Authority Trading Company (LATCo), enabling it to play a more direct and influential role in how important services are delivered.
The LATCo will operate as an ‘arms-length’ commercial business, separate to the Council and will be responsible for crucial services such as waste and recycling collection, grounds maintenance and street cleansing.
This means that East Suffolk Council will exercise its right not to renew the contract it holds with Norse for the provision of operational services, and therefore this contract will come to a natural end in July 2023.
Operational staff currently employed by East Suffolk Norse, will be legally entitled to transfer to the new organisation, on the same terms and conditions, through ‘protection under law’ TUPE legislation and the Council will be seeking as seamless a transition as possible.
Cllr Steve Gallant, Leader of East Suffolk Council said: “Our aim is to provide the best quality services possible with the resources available, always seeking to deliver improvement that benefits council taxpayers. Since our formation in 2019, East Suffolk Council has been clear about its progressive ambitions for the district and the way that it delivers the key services needed by our communities.
“As part of this approach, we undertake regular reviews of all partnerships to ensure that they are delivering the best value for East Suffolk. This new trading company will allow us closer control of key services so we can maximise our support for, and investment in, our communities and local economy. We will also explore the commercial potential of these particular services, so that we can deliver profit which will be invested straight back into our communities.
“And by keeping money closer to East Suffolk, this change will help deliver the council’s strategic aims. For example, we believe that the new trading company will help East Suffolk deliver environmental changes – such as new fuels, vehicles and approaches to waste management – that support our environmental ambitions.”
Cllr Gallant also thanked East Suffolk Norse for their service and sought to reassure existing operational staff about their roles in the new organisation. He said:
“East Suffolk Council is grateful to East Suffolk Norse for the delivery of really important services, and we look forward to a continued, excellent working relationship as the contract concludes.
“The decisions we have taken are not a reflection on the service provided by East Suffolk Norse but are based on wider ambitions and always seeking best possible value for money. However, it goes without saying that our operational teams are hugely experienced and, as the most important asset of the business, we want the transition to be really smooth and straightforward.
“We believe there are business growth opportunities, and we want to invest in the development of a sustainable business which will actually provide increased job security and opportunity.
The creation of the LATCo focusses on the transition of a ‘core’ bundle of services, however - where there is a rational and compelling case - other services may yet join. Where companies and other organisations such as town and parish councils have ‘paid-for’ service contracts in place, the Council will discuss transferring these services to the LATCo.
“This is very much a growth, not a cutting exercise in terms of service and we are seeking more efficient ways of working without sacrificing the quality that our customers, residents and communities have come to expect.”