Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
To enter into a joint venture arrangement with Norse Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Norfolk County Council, for the provision of Housing Revenue Account (HRA) planned and responsive repairs, along with stewarding and cleaning services.
The Portfolio Holder for Council and Public Services gave a summary of the report which set out a proposal to enter into a joint venture arrangement with Norse Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Norfolk County Council, for the provision of Housing Revenue Account (HRA) planned and responsive repairs, along with stewarding and cleaning services. The aim of the proposal was to provide a more sustainable model for the affected services and strive for the delivery of even higher quality for our tenants. The partnership would also support the local economy and help to protect and create local jobs.
In response to a Member question asking for feedback from the affected officers, the Director – Finance and Corporate Services said the matter had been developed for quite some time and three months of due diligence had been done. The Chief Executive said meetings had been held with the affected staff and a formal consultation would take place. She said this was a mechanism which was advantageous to staff.
Councillor Dean said he was critical of how this had been handled, as it was a substantial piece of work that the rest of the Council did not know about and which had not been passed through the Scrutiny Committee.
The Chief Executive said officers had had to work at great speed to ensure there was no loss in service, and therefore there had been no time to send the report to Scrutiny Committee. The Committee could however observe how the partnership performed.
The Portfolio Holder – Council and Public Services said the Tenants’ Forum and Housing Board had given their support in the matter.
In response to a question from the Chair of Scrutiny Committee asking whether the Committee might be able to oversee the process, the Leader said this was acceptable.
i. Authorise the establishment of a joint venture partnership with Norse Group in accordance with the proposal appended to this report;
ii. Agree to the formation of Uttlesford Norse Ltd (UNL) to provide cleaning, stewarding and HRA property services currently provided by inhouse teams and other commercial services;
iii. Appoint Councillor Evans as a lead member to be consulted by officers on the development of the joint venture proposals, including the creation of the legal framework;
iv. Authorise the Director of Finance and Corporate Services in consultation with the Leader and nominated member as set out in iii) above to settle the final form of the joint venture, including the transfer of services, subject to approval by the Council of the budget implications, and to take all such steps as he considers to be necessary, incidental or conducive to the implementation of the joint venture proposal.
v. Invite the Chair of Scrutiny to nominate two members of the Scrutiny Committee to oversee the process.
The meeting ended at 21.15.
Report author: Adrian Webb
Publication date: 28/11/2019
Date of decision: 26/11/2019
Decided at meeting: 26/11/2019 - Cabinet
Effective from: 06/12/2019