Carillion, Cofely and Interserve bid to run Wakefield Council services

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Hundreds of council staff will be transferred to one of three private companies which are in the running to take over services including school meals and cleaning.

Wakefield Council is in talks with Carillion, Cofely Workplace and Interserve over an outsourcing deal to help the local authority make millions of pounds in budget cuts.

One of the firms will become the employer of 1,200 council workers under the deal, launched after massive spending cuts were imposed by the government. A report to the council’s Modern Public Services overview and scrutiny committee said the new arrangement will start in April next year after the firms were shortlisted last November.

The report said: “Details on the various aspects of the project are being finalised and fine tuned in order to prepare for final tenders to be called.

“Whilst until the final bids have been evaluated it isn’t possible to state precisely what the final solution will look like, nor the level of financial savings, it is possible to be confident that the final agreement will be very much a partnership tailored to Wakefield.”

Around a third of Wakefield Council’s budget will have been cut by 2019-20 due to cuts in its funding from central government.

The council will have to make savings of £66m in the next five years.

Building, facilities management, property and asset management, building cleaning, school meals and buildings-related architectural design will be taken over by one of the three companies.

The scrutiny committee report said talks were being held with trade unions representing the council workers.

It said: “Staffing considerations and ensuring fair treatment of the transferring workforce have been at the forefront of the council’s requirements in relation to the Partnership.

“The council will retain control over its assets and decisions relating to those assets.”

Graham Stokes, the council’s cabinet member for modern public services, said: “The scale of savings which we need to make means we have to look at new ways of delivering services in the future, while still being committed to providing quality services and protecting jobs where we can.

“We have identified three companies as prospective partners to work with us to provide our property and building related services, with the intention that this will keep jobs in the district with more security than the council can currently provide.”

Carillion (AMBS) Ltd is part of Carillon PLC, which describes itself as a “leading integrated support services company”.

The company has just been awarded a contract worth an estimated £475m from Highways England to upgrade motorways in a joint venture with Kier.

Carillion employs 42,000 people in the UK, the Middle East and Canada and had reported revenues of £4.1bn last year.

Cofely has more than 15,000 employees in the UK and Ireland and has an annual turnover of £1bn.

Cofely Workplace Ltd, the subsidiary company in talks with Wakefield Council, was formed in 2013 when Cofely bought the facilities management business of Balfour Beatty.

Last month Cofely won a five-year contract to maintain buildings for Harrow Council in London which will see 420 council staff transfer to the company.

Accounts show that Cofely’s parent company is GDF Suez SA, a company registered in France.

Interserve says it is “one of the world’s foremost support services and construction companies”.

The multi-national company is listed on the FTSE 250 Index and has 80,000 employees, with gross revenues of £3.3bn.

It’s subsidiary company Interserve (facilities management) Plc is in talks with Wakefield Council.

The company built new police headquarters in Leeds and Wakefield under a £114m Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deal with West Yorkshire Police.