Contracts and controversies in highways

 

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council will take its highways maintenance back in-house next month following allegations of blacklisting at contractor Carillion.

The company is one of several construction industry employers facing court action from the GMB union on behalf of members who were allegedly placed on a blacklist for trade union activity or raising health and safety concerns.

In 2013 Redcar and Cleveland passed a motion resolving ‘where permitted by legislation, not to include companies that have been identified as using this information on our approved suppliers list for all future work’.

”Local
Highways maintenance contracts are changing hands

Cllr Helen McLuckie, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: 'The Highways Service will be delivered by the council from Friday, April 1, as this way the service can be delivered more cost-effectively. We are currently consulting with staff and Trade Unions regarding this decision which was made at a Cabinet Meeting on December 8.’

The GMB welcomed the council’s decision. Regional organiser Chris Jukes said ‘The taking back in house of this important service is good news. In an area that has suffered from significant job loss in key sectors, the fact that the council has chosen to try and get better value for local people by in house provision has to be welcomed.

'Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council have made the right decision and at the same time ensured high quality service provision throughout the locality.’

A Carillion spokesperson told Transport Network: 'Carillion has worked with Redcar and Cleveland Council since 2004 and during this time our contract has been extended on several occasions. We were fully aware of the council’s decision not to re-bid the contract but to instead administer it in-house.

'We have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the council over the period of the contract and we continue to work closely with them to ensure the transition of the contract in-house is as smooth as possible.'

Elsewhere, Shropshire Council and Ringway have mutually agreed not to renew a highways contract when it expires in 2018, following concerns over the company’s performance.

The six-year contract, worth around £25m annually, began in 2012 with an option to renew for a further four years.

It covers services such as highways maintenance, street scene and grounds maintenance, vehicle maintenance, street lighting, structures and bridges, civil works, emergency and extreme weather responses, signs and lines and winter maintenance.

However Wiltshire Council has awarded Ringway a highways maintenance contract for five years from April, with the possibility of a two-year extension.

The contract, which is worth £15m per year, covers the maintenance of roads, street lights and pavements, clearing drains, gritting roads and emergency repairs.

It follows the early termination ‘by mutual agreement’ of the previous contract with Balfour Beatty Living Places.

Transport Network approached Ringway for comment.

 

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