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Publication date:- 2017-18-11

user-generated Headlines and reports on this page = 4 news items.    Page - 2.

Council to take back control of City's highways

LIVERPOOL City Council is to take back control of looking after the City's highways by ending its contract with Amey, by mutual agreement. A report to the Liverpool City Council's cabinet next Friday, 24 November 2017, is to recommend that the 9 year contract for the delivery of highways services (established in July 2013) be closed in the New Year, as part of a drive to deliver £90m of savings over the next 3 years, due to Government cuts. If approved, the Council and Amey will complete the mutually agreed exit by the end of January 2018. The moves comes as part of a Council wide review which has brought parks services, street cleansing, bin collections, IT and HR and Payroll services all back "in house" to deliver further savings. Although cost savings were initially made under the contract, the Council considers that further savings could be achieved in looking at alternative smarter and more flexible delivery methods, as shown with its new pothole repair contracts with the private sector. Following the negotiated exit, it is also proposed that an interim service be 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 highways services which are currently delivered by Amey are:-

►  Highway Maintenance.

►  Highway Inspections.

►  Highway Enforcement.

►  Condition Surveys.

►  Street Lighting Inspection and Maintenance.

►  Winter Maintenance.

►  Gully/Highway Drainage Maintenance.

►  Highway Structures Maintenance and Management.

►  Street Works Co-ordination.

►  Alleygate Maintenance.

►  Highway Professional Services.

In the short term, it is proposed to separate the current service provision, as follows:-

►  Client based functions and associated resource be transferred back to the Council. This will include, for example, the highway inspections, street works inspections, project management and work scheduling, and professional services (eg:- design).

►  The operational element of the service and the associated resource, be transferred to Liverpool Street Scene Services Limited (or LSSL). This will include, for example, the gully cleansing operatives, the street lighting operatives, and the white works operatives (eg:- flagging works).

The negotiated exit from the contract will result in eligible staff either transferring back to the Council or Liverpool Street Scene Limited (LSSL). The detail of those with TUPE rights will be confirmed 28 days prior to transfer/exit.

Councillor Ann O'Byrne, Deputy Mayor of Liverpool, said:- "The stark reality of these punitive Government cuts is forcing the Council, 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. The highways contract with Amey LG did initially deliver savings but 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 further. Anyone who travels by car through Liverpool knows the City has a pothole issue and the Council is doing all it can. Unfortunately this issue is a double whammy because while we are investing £88m in repairs the Government are putting in just £18m. The Mayor has already written to the Minister highlighting this lack of investment and we will continue to make the point especially while London receives an inordinate amount of transport investment compared to Northern cities like ourselves."

Councillor Steve Munby, Cabinet Member for Highways, added:- "I am confident that this proposal will deliver the best possible value for Council Tax payers, help us improve services and deliver savings through eliminating management fees and working with staff and the trade unions to promote innovation."

A further report will be submitted to Cabinet considering future delivery arrangements within 12 months of the exit from the contract.

Amey's Highways Business Director David Ogden said:- "We have reached a mutual agreement with Liverpool City Council to end our highways contract early after both sides raised concerns about the sustainability of the contract. The financial environment has changed significantly since the signing of this contract and we both agreed that this is the best course of action for all. Working together since 2013, Amey and Liverpool City Council have maintained the highways and street lighting service across the City, and are now committed to ensuring a smooth transition to a new service delivery approach in the coming months."

Commuters in the North West now spend 26 working days a year travelling

COMMUTERS from the North West now face an average 56 minute daily journey; the equivalent of 26 working days a year, according to TUC analysis released to mark Work Wise UK's Commute Smart Week.

Getting to and from work now takes commuters in the North West an extra 7 minutes a day compared with a decade ago; the equivalent of an extra 26 hours a year spent on congested roads and packed trains. Nationally, commuters are facing an average daily journey of 58 minutes, up 5 minutes from a decade ago. The number of workers facing very long commutes (over 2 hours) is up by 34%, with 3,291,012 now facing very long journeys.

Rail commuters face the longest journeys, taking an average of 2 hours and 12 minutes every day; an increase of 4 minutes on the last decade. Drivers spend 52 minutes on the road to work and back (up by 4 minutes), while bus commuters must set aside 39 minutes a day (up by 7 minutes). Cyclists (43 minutes) and walkers (30 minutes) have the quickest daily journeys.

Commute times are up across the country... Londoners take the longest to get to and from work:- 1 hour and 21 minutes each day; up by 6 minutes in the last decade. Welsh workers have the shortest daily commute in Great Britain, at 49 minutes. Every English region now faces an average commute time of over 50 minutes a day.

The TUC blames growing commutes on 3 main factors:-

► Low Government spending on transport infrastructure.
► Employers not offering flexible and home working.
► Real wages falling while property prices soar, making it hard to move closer to work.

TUC Regional Secretary for the North West Lynn Collins said:- "We're now spending 26 working days a year going to and from work. That's wasted time, which could have been better spent with family and friends.  Commutes should be getting shorter, but inflexible bosses and our cash tarved transport system mean we're wasting more and more time getting to work. It doesn't have to be like this. Home working and less rigid hours would take pressure off road and rail. And serious Government investment could give us a transport network that's up to the job."

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Deceased estates notice - Lilian May Jackam

Pursuant to the Trustee Act 1925, any persons having a claim against or an interest in the Estate of Lilian May Jackam (also known as Lillian May) Jackam (Deceased), late of Birch Abbey Rest Home, 55 Alexandra Road, Southport, Merseyside, PR9 9HD, UK, who died on 04/10/2018, are required to send particulars thereof in writing, to the undersigned Solicitors, on or before 24/05/2019, after which date the Estate will be distributed having regard only to claims and interests of which they have had notice. Churches Solicitors, 12 High Street, Fareham, Hampshire, PO16 7BL, UK. Ref:- 'T553015.'

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