17:18 Monday 20th September 2011
Drive BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
PETER SWAN: Peterborough Enterprise, the body responsible for delivering services such as waste collection and street cleaning on behalf of Peterborough City Council, has today promised quality won’t suffer as a result of proposed redundancies. The organisation has been undergoing a period of review, and is looking to close 18 back-office posts, although they hope to retain and redeploy many of the staff whose jobs are under threat. Well Enterprise’s Richard Oldfield, I’m pleased to say, joins us now. Evening to you Richard.
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Good evening.
PETER SWAN: Now, 18 posts this is out of a possible 600. So I guess you’re feeling this is pretty limited. Within the whole size of your organisation it’s not a huge amount of restructuring.
RICHARD OLDFIELD: No it’s not a huge amount of people in the whole organisation, but we are very much aware of the fact that it is 18 people who obviously are going to feel the impact of this, and we’re doing our very best to provide support and look for alternative employment opportunities through the process over the next six or eight weeks.
PETER SWAN: Yes, and I suppose the fact that you are a large organisation makes the process of potentially redeploying people that much easier.
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Well it’s possible, as part of a large organisation, but we’re looking also within what we’re doing in Peterborough, and also looking at potentially some support from Peterborough City Council as well, with potential vacancies that they have.
PETER SWAN: So what’s the process that has led to this? How is your funding situation at the moment? Is it just a case of tweaking things, or are you having to work quite hard to make all the numbers add up?
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Well I think this is part of our review of the contract, and yes, we are having to work hard in the current climate, as are all organisations. And it’s also the impact of the growth projections that we had at the beginning of the contract not coming through at the moment. As everybody is aware, we’re in a very difficult economic climate at the moment, and growth isn’t happening. So we haven’t been able to achieve those objectives to provide support for the jobs that we expected.
PETER SWAN: How often do you go about reviewing your staffing? Is it something that you look at on quite a regular basis?
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Well any business does. We carry out reviews of our operations on an ongoing basis. But steps like this are very significant, and therefore we would not expect to have to do this sort of exercise very often at all. So it’s an exceptional circumstance that’s come about as part of the review. And we’re now confident that we’re able to go forward with the contract, and work together with the teams here to achieve our objectives over the coming months and years of the contract.
PETER SWAN: Yes, and it seems you’re pretty keen to underline, as well, that people won’t notice any impact in the services that you provide, either.
RICHARD OLDFIELD: No. These are the support functions within the contract, and they’re not the frontline jobs, so there won’t be a direct impact. And we also believe that as a result of the change in support that the frontline staff won’t be (INDISTINCT) in terms of being able to deliver the services that they are delivering in the city at the moment.
PETER SWAN: Is the relationship with Peterborough City Council a good one? Is this working, this arrangement at the moment? It’s going well?
RICHARD OLDFIELD: We’ve got an excellent relationship with Peterborough City Council. They’re a very challenging customer. They’re demanding a lot from us, and we’re responding to that, and listening to the feedback they give us about our services, and addressing issues they raise, and making sure that the quality of the service in everything that we do, from the waste, and the street cleansing, and the parks, to providing facilities to management, office cleaning, is of the standard that we expect it to be, and the City Council expects it to be.
PETER SWAN: Yes. And obviously this is a relatively new venture. Just remind us of the potential benefits as well. How does this work as a benefit for everyone who’s consuming these services?
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Well the benefit that we’ve brought in is that we’ve brought in service models that have joined-up the services that we deliver, to provide an integrated service. For example on our streetcare service, that joins together the work that’s done by our parks and trees operation and our street cleaning operation, so that there’s a one-pass operation that goes down the street. So everybody who is working on that street is ensuring that the grass is cut, all the litter is picked up, all the road channels are clean, any fly-tipping is collected, and it’s no longer seen as part of someone else’s responsibility, if grass cutting for example encounters litter on the pavement. So that’s certainly making a contribution to ensuring that when we go through an area, it really achieves a high standard of cleanliness, and we maintain it at that. We’ve also invested in .. we deliver a public bus service on a number of routes. We’ve invested in a number of new buses to ensure the quality of that service. And we’ve invested in other mechanisation within the service, and also invested in the IT systems here as well.
PETER SWAN: OK Richard. Thanks a lot for joining us on the programme.
RICHARD OLDFIELD: Thank you.
PETER SWAN: That’s Richard Oldfield from Enterprise Peterborough, a big organisation making a little bit of restructuring right at the minute.