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Norwich maintenance work deal signed

PUBLISHED: 07:14 09 March 2010 | UPDATED: 08:40 02 July 2010

A short-term deal has been struck by City Hall bosses to ensure homes are fixed and maintained despite a legal challenge.

A short-term deal has been struck by City Hall bosses to ensure homes are fixed and maintained despite a legal challenge.

Shaun Lowthorpe

Norwich City Council has signed a short term deal to prevent the delivery of housing repair and maintenance works being paralysed by a legal ruling - but gave no indication of how much it would cost or how it would be paid for.

Norwich City Council has signed a short term deal to prevent the delivery of housing repair and maintenance works being paralysed by a legal ruling - but gave no indication of how much it would cost or how it would be paid for.

City Hall had previously awarded a contract to Connaught plc after the firm bid £17m to take over one of 10 contracts previously run by Citycare.

But last month a High Court judge imposed an injunction to stop the award after a challenge from Citycare's parent company Morrison Facilities Services Ltd, amid concerns that the council had accepted an “abnormally low” bid.

Yesterday the council said it had signed a short-term deal with Connaught to bridge the gap until the legal challenge is resolved, while Citycare staff would transfer to the new provider.

In its legal case the council had said that it would cost £1m a month to find a replacement provider while the injunction was in place, but there was no detail in the announcement about how much the temporary deal would cost or how it would be paid for.

Philip Hyde, the city council's head of legal, regulatory and democratic services, said: “We have been able to do this in a cost effective way, giving value for money and continuity of service to our residents. It is regrettable we have had to take this action as we consider our contract letting procurement procedures were rigorous and robust and we will be pursuing the defence of the ongoing court challenge with vigour.”

Peter Jones, chief executive of Connaught Partnerships said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the short-term contract by Norwich City Council to deliver its housing repairs, maintenance and improvement works.

“Despite the uncertainty, we have continued with our planning and preparatory works for the housing repairs contract in the hope that a resolution could be reached and so we are ideally positioned to ensure a seamless transfer of service on 1 April on all eight contracts we have now been awarded.

“I would emphasise again that Connaught underwent a lengthy and extremely rigorous procurement process to win this contract on the basis that our bid offered the best possible service and value for money for the people of Norwich. With that in mind we look forward to the long term contract situation being resolved as soon as possible.”

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