Fenland Council may outsource its street cleaning department but leader insists its very early days

Flashback: Graffiti on a McDonald sign in Wisbech

Flashback: Graffiti on a McDonald sign in Wisbech - Credit: Archant

Council leader John Clark has confirmed Fenland is considering outsourcing its street cleansing department.

Cllr Clark said his cabinet was about to be briefed on the possibility and all councillors would be notified later.

He insisted the proposal was only at this stage being considered but council employees have been told.

The news was broken on Facebook by one of those who could be affected who expressed anger that over the proposals.

“Some of us have been with Fenland District Council for a long time and won’t be given a chance of redundancy,” he wrote. “We will be told to sign a new contract with whoever takes us over or become unemployed. So much for protecting front line services!”

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The news has come as a surprise to many councillors who were not told of the possibility when the department was the subject of an overview and scrutiny committee report last summer.

One option for the council is to merge the street cleansing department with the grounds maintenance contract which has been considered a success in recent years.

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Cllr Clark said: “It makes sense, for instance, when you are cutting a large grassed area for the same workers to pick up the litter.”

But he said any proposals would take some time to be implemented; he said the council had notified its workers first which “you would expect an employer to do”.

The same worker who broke the news added: “The funny part is they keep on about lack of money but they paid a consultation company £29,000 for a feasibility study and then ignored them when they came back and said it would not be financially beneficial at this time to tender is out.”

Public toilets, street cleaning, dog fouling and removal of graffiti are just some of the duties handled by the department.

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