And so 9 years after outsourcing highways maintenance Wirral Council has suddenly -BAM! – out of the blue announced that it is to bring this area of council responsibility back ‘in house’.
Council leader Phil Davies thanked BAM Nuttall for their work but said this was the right decision for the council tax payers of Wirral.
He continued: “Wirral Council has to ensure every pound spent is wisely invested and we get the best value for our residents.This decision is the right decision at the right moment – the contract with BAM Nuttall was coming to an end and we believe we can deliver this service more effectively by taking direct control.”
Note our emphasis on the words the right decision at the right moment. Care to explain more about that assertion Power Boy Pip? No we thought not!
We have to admit we didn’t see this one coming down the road – but then desperate times at Wirral Council call for desperate measures. Whilst this U-turn decision may seem to fly in the face of Wirral Council’s transformation agenda , which largely consists of outsourcing as many public services as they can , for those of us with an understanding of what’s been going on behind closed doors lately and the startling developments that council insiders (and some outsiders!) have been letting on to us it all makes perfectly perverse sense. Let us explain why.
Cast your minds back to the heady days of 2008 when Wirral Council outsourced their highly lucrative highways contract out to Colas in preference to the in house Direct Labour Organisation (DLO). Some aggrieved DLO staff , having had their employment contracts transferred to Colas , then cried foul when it came to the tendering arrangements and ‘whistleblew’. Despite numerous subsequent investigations we don’t think it’s ever been properly explained as to what actually went on. All we do know is that it all went nuclear and the fall out is being felt within Wirral Council to this day. Colas eventually walked away from the contract and it was transferred to BAM Nuttall in 2014.
Now it seems we’ve gone right round the roundabout and highways maintenance services will be returned in-house to Wirral Council in October 2018. All of which wants us to ask some pertinent questions as to why this is ‘the right decision’ and ‘the right moment’. The right decision for whom? How is are councillors Davies and Whittingham evidencing that this is in the best interest of council taxpayers? – that’ll be a first! and why now all of a sudden ? Will BAM Nuttall highways maintenance staff be transferred back to Wirral Council ? and if so will that include the DLO staff and particularly any of the ‘whistleblowers’ who we understand are still seeking compensation – for what exactly we’re not quite sure – from Wirral Council?
It seems to us that after a decade of dispute that would certainly get Wirral Council and , particularly some councillors, out of a deep, deep pothole they’ve dug for themselves now wouldn’t it?! #Wirralgate