Liverpool Council takes highways back under direct control saving £750,000

Authority has also taken parks services, street cleansing, bin collections, IT and HR and payroll services back in-house, loosening the private sector’s grip on local public services. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool City Council has taken highways maintenance back under direct control


Private contractor Amey will no longer be maintaining Liverpool’s highways with the city council taking the contract back in-house by mutual agreement – saving £750,000 over the next 12 months.

It is the latest move by the authority which has also taken parks services, street cleansing, bin collections, IT and HR and payroll services back under direct control and it comes amid UK-wide concern over the involvement of private firms in public sector work.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said the state should be the “default” provider of public services.

However, Liverpool City Council does not appear to be necessarily adopting a “public good, private bad” approach and instead is using private contractors in a “smarter and more flexible” way, such as in its new pothole repair contracts.

The authority says it will reinvest the first-year £750,000 savings from the ending of the contract in repairing potholes and new alleygates for residents.

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

The work carried out by Amey included highway maintenance, inspections and enforcement, street lighting maintenance and inspection as well as maintenance on drainage and gullies and alleygates.

Councillor 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 to ensure not just value for money but to help protect the vulnerable as much as we possibly can.

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.”

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