Aragon Direct Services is the new trading name for Peterborough City Council’s trading company which is taking over delivery of key services, including bin collections, operated by Amey in a phased transfer as follows:
Residents should notice little obvious change, other than the new name. Bin collection schedules and services will remain the same and will continue to be delivered by the same team of frontline staff within the new trading company, Aragon Direct Services.
Aragon Direct Services’ focus will remain on continuing to improve the services and develop a more flexible approach to meeting the growing needs of our city. For example, where priorities change and we want to amend schedules for a service such as grass cutting this can be arranged more easily than if through an outsourced contract.
Peterborough City Council made the landmark decision to form a new trading company to take over the services currently operated by Amey. As local authorities continue to face financial pressure, this is an innovative way to balance the books whilst striving to deliver the highest quality services to the public and local businesses. Our trading company - Aragon Direct Services - will allow us to generate income through commercial operations which will help us to deliver first class services to our residents.”
The new company is wholly owned by the council which means that it will remain fully accountable to the council and its elected representatives. Aragon Direct Services is the new trading name of Peterborough City Council’s registered Local Authority Trading Company, Peterborough Limited.
Residents and businesses should continue to contact the council for information about these services or to report concerns. Any other queries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. What’s the name of the trading company?
A. Peterborough Limited is the registered company name when it was set up July 2018, however a new trading name of Aragon Direct Services was announced in March 2019 to reflect our aspirations of growing the business outside of the city.
Q. What is Peterborough Limited?
A. Peterborough Limited is a private limited company, owned wholly by Peterborough City Council as a Local Authority Trading Company (LATCo). It was set up to deliver services to local people by local people, and to do that with a commercial mindset. Essentially, it is taking over the contracts delivered by Amey and then looking to improve, deliver financial benefit back to the Council and grow the commercial side of the business. The trading name it will be known by is Aragon Direct Services
Q. Why has the council set up a local authority trading company?
A. Councils can legally only make a certain amount of income from private work. By establishing the business as a Local Authority Trading Company (LATCo) it has more freedom to bring in commercial business. The income that this will generate will help fund council services, helping offset the cuts in Government grants to local authorities. Therefore businesses and residents buying additional services from the trading company are directly helping to invest in the city, protect front-line services and create more local jobs.
Q. Why has there been a delay, I thought the transfer was happening on 2 February?
A. There is not a delay, the process has started on 2 February with building cleaning services transferring to Aragon Direct Services. This is a really big and complex project. A phased transition of services will ensure there is no negative impact on residents.
Q. What services are being transferred and when?
Aragon Direct Services and Amey are working together to transfer services over in a controlled manner to ensure there is no disruption of services. The phased transition will be as follows:
- Building cleaning team moves to the trading company on 2 February;
- Waste collections moves on 1 April;
- Building maintenance, street cleaning, grounds maintenance, and passenger transport moves on 4 May.
By 4 May 2019 all services will be operated by Aragon Direct Services.
Q. Why is the contract being moved from Amey?
There are many reasons for setting up the Local Authority trading company and bringing these service into the operation. Firstly, there is a financial benefit through not contracting to a company outside of the council structure. Secondly, Aragon Direct Services has been set up to deliver local services for local people and there be a close focus on finding opportunities to do this, such as increasing the number of local suppliers used. In addition to these reasons, we believe that with this local focus the service can be improved and we would like to hear people’s views on this.
Q. Will there be any disruption to services?
A. There is no planned disruption to services. A robust plan is in place to ensure a positive transition of service from Amey to Aragon Direct Services. The plan is closely monitored by senior management and by the Council Executive.
Q. What difference to services will there be?
A. Aragon Direct Services will take over services on the same like-for-like basis. There will be little obvious change to services to residents other than different branding. Later in the year we will set out our approach to improve the services for residents and develop a more flexible service to meet the growing needs of our city.
Q. Why has a staggered launch date been decided? Why not all at the same time?
Cabinet is absolutely determined to get these services right for our residents and we have a smooth handover. This phased approach, to be completed by early May, will help manage the complexity and scale of the task which involves the transferring of 449 employees, and all the assets and vehicles associated with these services. It will ensure the best possible quality of service is maintained and that high standards of public and employee safety are adhered to.
Q. What will happen to the current Amey staff?
A. All the workforce will transfer to Aragon Direct Services on the same terms and conditions, pay and pension arrangements they have had with Amey on their individual transfer date.
Q. Who is taking over bin collections?
A. Aragon Direct Services will be taking over this service from Amey on 1 April.
Q. Will bins still be emptied on the same day or will we be getting weekly bin collections?
We are not looking to make any changes to services - it will be like-for-like. Waste collection schedules will remain the same at this time.