30 September 2010 | Angeline Albert
Norwich City Council aims to let several temporary contracts, each lasting up to a year, while a long-term contractor is sought to replace collapsed supplier Connaught.
Connaught had a £17.5 million contract with the local authority to maintain council homes, but went into administration on 8 September. Connaught had previously supplied these services to scores of councils and housing associations across the UK.
On Tuesday (28 September), during the first public council meeting in Norwich since the collapse of Connaught, council leaders said contracts would be re-let on an interim basis – for six to 12 months – while also trying to find a long-term solution.
The authority has begun the process of letting the temporary contracts for all housing work and informing companies that have already expressed an interest.
A council statement said: “Companies taking on these contracts will also be encouraged to take on ex-Connaught staff. About 15 companies have approached us offering help. All will be asked if they wish to tender for the six to 12-month contracts.”
Norwich has already let emergency contracts (lasting six to eight weeks), including those for housing repairs and maintenance, kitchens, bathrooms and windows, electrical and mechanical, heating upgrades and gas servicing.
Gas servicing is provided on a temporary basis by local firm Ward & Rooney Heating, which expects to take on some of the staff made redundant by the administrator, while Ashford Commercial, a former sub-contractor, has taken charge of some window replacements. All emergency housing repairs are being provided by Lovell. Connaught Compliance, which is still trading, is covering emergency electrical and mechanical work.
More than 300 Connaught staff involved in repairs and maintenance on the council’s housing stock were made redundant by administrator KPMG as a result of Connaught entering administration.