New company to help meet savings challenge

By on 10/01/2011 in News

Proposals to create trading company offering a wide range of services to the council and other public and private sector organisations have been drawn up by Birmingham City Council.

Cabinet Members are due on January 17 to consider a report outlining the plan - which is designed to improve service efficiency and generate income for the council.

Under the proposal, the company would initially look to provide some services currently delivered in-house by the Building Consultancy and Urban Design teams. Consideration is also being given to other elements of work carried out within the area of planning and regeneration.

To begin, an overarching parent company would be created, with each individual service then delivered through Special Purpose Vehicles, which would be subject to their own full business cases being approved at a later date.

Full consultation on all aspects of the plan will be carried out with staff and Trades Unions.

Cllr Randal Brew, Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “The plan that has been put together offers us a great opportunity to review operations and modernise and transform the services we offer as a city council.

“It would contribute to the financial challenges the council faces by reducing overheads, bringing into play the benefits of economies of scale and generally being a more efficient way of doing things.

“Longer-term, it would also be offering us the foundations of a lucrative income stream by expanding our customer base, meaning there is a vast amount of potential in this and it is right that we consider doing it.”

Last year the council increased efficiency through a similar plan to offer postal services to external organisations at a saving of more than 7p per second class letter.


Notes to editors

  1. Having saved itself £570,000 in postage costs since January 2009, Birmingham City Council is now enabling other public sector bodies and potentially local businesses to benefit from its Royal Mail contract. The contract with Royal Mail is the only one of its kind for a local authority and gives the city council a major discount on postage costs - of up to 40 per cent. The council handles around 8,000,000 items of mail in a typical year and has the capacity to collect and process mail from other organisations within the West Midlands. Typical savings are around 30 per cent for a letter weighing under 100g, compared to normal franking machine costs of 25p for a second class letter. The same letter processed through our wholesale mailing account costs on average 17.6p, saving 7.4p on each letter.
  2. Building Consultancy take the lead in ensuring that all new construction projects are built, altered, extended or demolished in accordance with the Building Regulations and related legislative requirements. The service Consultancy works with developers and home owners to achieve compliance with the Building Regulations, ensuring that buildings in Birmingham are as thermally and energy efficient as possible.
  3. Urban Design is a multi-disciplinary consultancy offering construction related services to public sector organisations. The award-winning team offer their skills of design, project management, maintenance, and sustainability services tailored to meet clients' objectives, for schemes ranging from small-scale refurbishments to multi-million pound new developments.

For further information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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