Cllr Ann O'Byrne 2017
Cllr Ann O'Byrne: "Depth of government cuts has forced us to look at every penny"

Liverpool brings highways services in-house

By mutual agreement, Liverpool City Council has ended its highways contract with Amey, reflecting a council-wide review that has seen parks services, street cleaning, bin collections, IT, HR and payroll services all returned to direct council control.

The termination of the contract four years early was approved at cabinet in November and details have now been finalised, with staff transfers complete.

The council said that although cost savings were initially made under the contract, it “considers that further savings could be achieved in looking at alternative smarter and more flexible delivery methods, as shown with its new pothole repair contracts with the private sector”.

At last night’s neighbourhood select committee, councillors were informed that in the first year the council estimates it will save £750,000 by bringing the contract back in house.

Following the negotiated exit, an interim service has been put in place for an 18-month period to allow the council to carry out a detailed review of options for future service delivery.

The highways services reverted back from Amey are:

  • Highway maintenance
  • Highway inspections
  • Highway enforcement
  • Condition surveys
  • Street lighting inspection & maintenance
  • Winter maintenance
  • Gully/Highway drainage maintenance
  • Highway structures maintenance & management
  • Street works co-ordination
  • Alleygate maintenance
  • Highway professional services

In the short term, service provision has been separated, with client-based functions and associated resource transferring back to the council, and the operational parts of the service transferring to its wholly-owned subsidiary Liverpool Streetscene Services.

Cllr Ann O’Byrne, deputy mayor of Liverpool, said: “The sheer depth of government cuts has forced us to look at every single penny we spend. We believe more can be achieved by bringing the operations back in house.

“We have seen with other services such as street cleansing and refuse collections that insourcing can deliver savings which can be reinvested to make our money go even further.”

Cllr Steve Munby, cabinet member for highways, added: “I recently joined senior officers from Highways and LSSL to speak to the staff transferring from Amey and answer questions. Negotiating and managing the contract with Amey and the transfer of staff has been an enormous amount of work for officers and I am really grateful for their efforts.

“I think the new arrangements offer us good opportunities to improve services. I was delighted when staff working on street lighting and gully cleaning came up to me after the meeting with ideas on how to improve the service.

“Both of them focused on moving away from a reactive service to a more systematic approach involving comprehensive coverage of geographic areas. This approach to service improvement based on ‘logistics’ has worked on other sectors which have transferred to LSSL and I am optimistic similar improvements can be achieved in Highways.”

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