Enterprise Peterborough – Making the Best of a Bad Situation

07:20 Friday 27th January 2012
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: Work experience, apprenticeships and volunteering, just some of the ways a Peterborough company plans to help boost the City of Peterborough. Enterprise of course provides a number of services for the City Council, including street cleansing and looking after parks and trees. And it’s now creating a number of roles to try and give a little bit back to the community. Richard Oldfield is the Transformation Director at Enterprise in Peterborough. Morning.
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Good morning Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: Tell us more about this. Exactly what are you doing?
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Well the Community Engagement Plan is a commitment that we made when we started the contract, back last year, to work in partnership with the Council to support them in their wider objectives of providing engagement with the community to support community priorities, whether that’s working in community gardens, additional clearing works in parks, to provide training opportunities for young people in Peterborough, to provide apprenticeships for people in Peterborough, so that we’ve got a workforce of 530 people in a range of skill sets that we deliver across Peterborough. So we’ve got a fantastic opportunity there to provide places for apprenticeships, and we’re going to do that in partnership with the City College, so we’ll provide the practical side, and the College will provide the training that goes alongside that.
PAUL STAINTON: Cynical people might say you’ve got to make some cutbacks. Are you just making some cutbacks and filling the holes with cheap labour?
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Certainly not. I think quite the opposite. I think, in difficult times it would be easy to give up on difficult schemes like this, and not push forward with training and apprenticeships, and also with providing the commitment that we have to release our management and staff to provide volunteering opposrtunities,and to provide mentoring schemes for schools and young people. And we will continue to do that in these difficult times, rather than just give up and decide that’s just too expensive to continue.
PAUL STAINTON: Are you going to be able to continue that though, when your budget is going to be cut hopefully, possibly, by about 8%, if the Peterborough City Council budget goes ahead? Can you maintain standards in the city, and invest in stuff like this?
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Well we can maintain standards in the city, and we can invest in this. We’ve got to work with our partners in the Council, to identify ways in which to achieve the reduction in the service cost that they’ve outlined.
PAUL STAINTON: Because that’s going to be a big hit, 8%, isn’t it? You’re going to have to lose people, surely, I would have thought.
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Well it’s going to be a challenge. And at this moment in time, we’re looking at a range of options with the Council. And at the moment we can’t really say where that’s going to be.
PAUL STAINTON: Well you’re going to lose some environmental officers, aren’t you? And that’s on the agenda at the moment, because fly tipping is massively on the increase around Peterborough.
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Well fly tipping has remained at a constant level. It’s obviously unacceptable, and we would urge everybody in Peterborough, as we’ve said before here, to report fly tipping to us. We urge people to get behind the campaign.
PAUL STAINTON: How are you going to continue, as you lose more staff, more services? Because in effect you’re going to have to, aren’t you? You are redeploying environmental officers. Aren’t you redirecting them to the city centre now, as well as losing some? So around the city, people are thinking that ..
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Well we haven’t made any changes to our service at this point in time. And we are still talking to the Council about a whole range of ways in which it might be possible to save the money that they’ve asked us to save, and to try and focus on things that have the least impact. Yes, it is going to be challenging. I can’t pretend it isn’t. But we’ve got to find the ways of making that impact as acceptable as it possibly can be.
PAUL STAINTON: They’ll be job losses, will there?
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Well I can’t say that at the moment Paul. But really what we’ve got to focus on today is that in spite of all that, we’re committing to add a community engagement plan. We’ve put a very clear document together. We’ve got clear targets and commitments in there. We’ve already got two apprentices in the business. We’re going to get another three. We’ve got great opportunities for apprentices.
PAUL STAINTON: So whatever happens, you will run this scheme?
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Whatever happens, we will run this scheme. We’re committed to that. We’ve also committed to 3rd party scrutiny of that scheme, so we’ll be able to measure our performance against that, so measure whether we actually are delivering 600 hours of voluntary work from our staff. So we’re committed to releasing our staff for 600 hours a year, for them to focus on supporting voluntary organisations in continuing to d eliver their good work in these times. We’re continuing to provide 12 days with our senior management team, to mentor. That isn’t just 12 days, that’s 12 days on the ground. But we have to then provide them with training and support, in order that they can be effective mentors. So we’ve got a programme already running at the depot to provide that training and support for people to become mentors, so they can help people in these difficult times, see that there are opportunities out there, and that things will ultimately get better.
PAUL STAINTON: You understand though that people will be listening to this thinking, mentors, work experience, releasing your staff. I’d rather have them coming round picking up the litter in Bretton.
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Well, we are picking up the litter in Bretton Paul. And we’re picking up the …
PAUL STAINTON: Well a lot of criticism about you this week, a lot of criticism, saying that your staff turn up, and they turn up and pick up the bits that were reported, and they’ll leave stuff that’s not been reported that’s sat right next to it. That sort of thing is going on, according to our listeners.
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Well, if anybody reports that to our team at the depot, we will go out and collect that straight away. We’re committed that fly tipping will be collected in 48 hours. But if someone can identify that we’ve been out to collect something and missed something, then we’ll certainly be going out straight away to pick it up. We’re out with councillors most weeks, going out around their wards, understanding what their priorities are, what their issues are, and making sure that we address those. We were out in Bretton last week with Councillor Pat Nash, looking at some of her issues, making sure ..
PAUL STAINTON: Do you wish more people were prosecuted for fly tipping? Because that’s the other thing, isn’t it? There’s no deterrent really, is there?
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Well I think more people should be prosecuted for fly tipping.
PAUL STAINTON: Seven people ..
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Yes, one of our priorities with the Council is to work with the Enforcement Team, to provide them with the information. I think actually beyond that, we should be being more stringent as a community about littering altogether. Littering is a behavioural issue. People should not drop their litter.
PAUL STAINTON: And if they see it, who do they ring? Who do they ring?
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Well they ring Peterborough Direct. They’ll put them through to the Enforcement Team. And people can go out there and see if we can really be stern about this.
PAUL STAINTON: Richard, thank you very much. Richard Oldfield Transformation Director at Enterprise Peterborough. Difficult times ahead, but this scheme will go ahead, whatever happens, work experience, apprenticeships, volunteering and all that sort of stuff, despite the proposed cuts and whatever comes from those. That scheme will happen.