Grantham

Council grounds maintenance company could grow finances

Plans to trim costs on grounds maintenance will see a Lincolnshire district council create another private company, which it hopes to contract out to others.

South Kesteven District Council, which already has its eyes on the private sector with organisations and initiatives such as Invest SK, Discover SK and DeliverSK – is looking to set up a new company called Environment SK.

Council leader Matthew Lee told Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines that the plan was to bring grounds maintenance – currently contracted out in the region of £1 million – back under authority control.

He said that money would not necessarily be saved, but because it would be a private company the district would also be able to generate an income by selling the service itself.

He admitted: “It’s not about lowering the cost of spend on it. It’s about delivering the service and then being able to trade-off it as well.

“Parish councils could hire the service as well as other neighbouring authorities. That in turn will help the council’s financial situation as well.”

He said unlike the recently agreed DeliverSK, which is a 50:50 partnership with a private sector company, this service would be completely council owned.

“I think it’s about simply making finances sustainable,” said councillor Lee.

Trade waste has already been brought in-house by the council, but as a public service and is not profit-making.

Councillor Lee said different councils were taking different approaches to how they make themselves more sustainable, but added that all councils had to be more careful with money now. However, he said that ‘can be something as simple as making sure you’re buying stationary in the right way to reduce costs’.

He said he was purely driven by ‘wanting to get the best services delivered to my residents and to do that you have got to bring in an income from elsewhere.’