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Outside operator wins council contract

PUBLISHED: 14:00 28 June 2008 | UPDATED: 20:45 05 July 2010

FRONTLINE services in Waveney - including bin collections, street cleaning, car parking and the upkeep of parks - are to transfer to a new company in a deal worth more than £120m.

FRONTLINE services in Waveney - including bin collections, street cleaning, car parking and the upkeep of parks - are to transfer to a new company in a deal worth more than £120m.

Norfolk County Services (NCS) Ltd, a company owned by Norfolk County Council, beat off stiff competition to be awarded the contract to form the new body known as Waveney Norse.

Conservative-run Waveney District Council insisted the new company would provide a better service for taxpayers, but opposition councillors raised fears about the decision to bring in an outside operator.

The 15-year contract starts on Tuesday and the organisation will be run as a joint venture company, meaning members of Waveney Council will have a place on the board and have the power of veto over decisions. The council will also be entitled to a 50pc share of any profits.

As part of the deal, 165 workers currently employed by the council's operation's department will transfer to Waveney Norse on existing terms and conditions. There will be no redundancies. Other services the new company will be responsible for include coastal protection works, drainage services, abandoned cars, cemeteries and burial services and beach safety.

Malcolm Cherry, leader of the opposition Labour group at Waveney, said: "We still have continuing concerns even though it has been voted through. I'm still unsure about how much it will cost us if we have to pull out of the contract." he said.

Andrew Shepherd, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said he was pleased NCS had such close links to the public sector, but was concerned about the deal.

"Local authorities are there to serve people and not farm things out. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. If the streets are clean and the parks are kept nice, then it will have been worthwhile. If they are not then we are back to square one," said Mr Shepherd.

NCS has operated similar partnerships with local authorities covering North Norfolk, Yarmouth and Suffolk Coastal.

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