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Morrison told its contract will not be extended
3:30pm Wednesday 19th September 2012 in News
THURROCK Council’s “disappointing” contract with repairs company Morrison will not be extended, the deputy-leader of the council has confirmed.
The multi-million pound contract, which was agreed in August 2010 for a minimum of five years with the option to extend it by 15 years, will not be continued beyond August 2015.
The contract agreed that Morrison Facility Services would carry out repair work on the council’s housing stock, as well as working on empty houses to make them livable.
But residents have been left fed up about the quality of repairs and time taken for repairs to be carried.
At a meeting of the cabinet last Wednesday, Cllr Val Morris-Cook, who is also responsible for the council’s housing portfolio, said she had formally notifed Morrison’s chief executive that no extension will be given.
She said that her team are looking at negotiating a deal with Morrisons to exit the contract early, but described the terms as “convoluted”, adding that the council are hesitant to fork out “uncompetitive amounts of compensation” to Morrison.
In a statement, she said: “It must have been considered at the time that significant benefits would be delivered from awarding the work to a single contractor and offering the potential for a long term working relationship.
“The results delivered by the partnership have been disappointing and I have therefore decided that Morrison should be notified now that no extension will be given and this has been done formally in a letter to Morrison’s chief executive.
“It may seem an early stage in the contract to have decided this, but I feel that the partnership, as it is presently constructed, is unlikely to build up sufficient customer confidence to merit an extension.
“We should, therefore, be open with them that their contract will not be extended.
“There are many lessons to be learned from this exercise, not least that we need to consider local businesses as competent service providers and offer them opportunities to contribute to the local economy.
“Only large companies were considered for this contract and in future the council may wish to re-visit this strategy.
“The council must consider how it can specify a mutually acceptable exit strategy from its contracts if services do not meet expectations and clearly little thought was given to that here.”
In August, a petition was launched by residents in South Ockendon, barring the firm from carrying out work in their homes.