St Helier Deputy Rob Ward asked for the details on the outsourcing contracts the department took out in the last term of the States in a written States question, to which the minister responded this week.
Mr Ward asked what savings there had been and whether any of them were as a result of reductions in wages, staffing levels or changes to working terms. He also asked how many of the contractors used zero-hour contracts for their employees. Deputy Lewis said none of the appointed companies used zero-hour contracts and that part of the tender process required that they demonstrate the company was a ‘responsible employer’ with a track record of compliance with employment laws.
‘As part of the formal tender process all responses were required to include statements of the number of staff to be engaged in the work, the employment contract type and general information on pay levels and benefits offered,’ Deputy Lewis said.
‘All contractors appointed stated that the staff to be engaged in fulfilling the contracts would be either on full-time or part-time permanent contracts of employment. The department’s contract managers have seen no evidence of this not being the case.’
To illustrate the savings made in each area, the 2014 operating costs for the department were compared to the average cost over the five-year duration of the outsourced work. The biggest savings were made on cleaning services, with the contractors charging £381,000 each year against the almost £1.1 million spent by the department in 2014 – a saving of £715,000. The department saved an additional £191,000 on cleaning services to other departments and £197,000 on parks and gardens maintenance. Cleaning services were contracted to AFM, G4S and JCF, while gardening and grounds contracts went to Elite, G4S, CA Frazier and Ransome Horticultural Services.