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Norfolk County Council rich list: Which firms got the most money in 2018?

PUBLISHED: 08:16 02 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:46 02 January 2019

Some of the firms Norfolk County Council spends the most money with are for roadworks, school dinners and street lighting. Photo: Archant

Some of the firms Norfolk County Council spends the most money with are for roadworks, school dinners and street lighting. Photo: Archant

Archant

Who has Norfolk County Council been spending your money with this year?

We’ve taken a look at the council’s spending records from January to September to see who the biggest suppliers were.

Around £550 million has been paid to 3,250 different suppliers for services ranging from surfacing roads to school dinners.

Search the table below to find out which firms the council uses and how much money they have been paid.

Here are the top 20 biggest suppliers:

The final stretch of the NDR (Broadland Northway), between Wroxham Road and Postwick, is opened to traffic.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYThe final stretch of the NDR (Broadland Northway), between Wroxham Road and Postwick, is opened to traffic. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

1) Tarmac - £32.6m

The private contractor could rake in up to £480m – £40m each year – in a 12-year deal with Norfolk County Council (NCC) to maintain highways and resurface roads.

But profits at the Solihull-based firm halved last year to £51.8m, accounts show.

2) Norse Care - £22.1m

A first bus makes its way through Norwich. Pic: Edward Starr Photographer.A first bus makes its way through Norwich. Pic: Edward Starr Photographer.

The council-owned company is Norfolk’s largest care home provider.

Part of Norse Group, the firm was set up by the council seven years ago.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors rate all of its care homes “good”.

3) Cambridgeshire Community Services - £17m

The NHS Trust won the contract in Norfolk for a programme called ‘Healthy Child’.

The scheme started in 2016 and is tasked with providing health services to schools and children of school age.

Along with a drug treatment service and sexual health, the programme covers pregnancy and early years care.

4) Balfour Beatty - £13.5m

The construction firm, which topped last year’s list, built the Northern Distributor Road (NDR), now known as Broadland Northway.

The final stretch of the NDR opened in April this year amid ballooning costs that now stand at £205m.

Tarmac on the road had barely cooled when the council announced it would fork out about £120,000 to replace damaged signs and kerbs on several roundabouts following a catalogue of crashes.

5) Public Works Loan Board - £12m

The government’s Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) hands out cheap state loans to public bodies, mainly for capital projects.

It was repaid £12m from January to September by the council for money borrowed, who look to cut roughly the same amount from their adult social services budget between 2019 and the end of 2022.

6) Norse Eastern - £10m

Another firm owned by the council through the Norse Group, Norse Eastern was paid to provide school dinners for the county’s children, clean buildings, maintain grounds, as well as repair and services vehicles. The firm also has a deal with the council’s printing service, Interprint.

7) Independence Matters - £9.4m

The social enterprise care company was also set up by the council. It provides care and support to the elderly and people with learning difficulties. The CQC rates all of its services “good”.

8) FCC Recycling - £8.4m

Owned by Spanish firm Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas SA, FCC has a waste and recycling contract with the council.

In the UK, FCC made a profit of £5.4m after tax last year.

Its contract covers three sites where district councils send waste, processing waste into fuel and arranging for the fuel to be exported. It also operates one recycling centre.

9) NPS Property Consultants - £7.2m

The NCC-owned company manages the county’s property portfolio.

NPS receives fees for schools capital works projects, property and estates advice, surveying, professional services and managing council land and buildings.

10) Norfolk Pension Fund - £6.1m

More than £6m went towards plugging the county’s pension pot, and services such as actuarial work.

Data released in September by environmental groups Platform and Friends of the Earth found the council invested £55.6m of pension funds into fracking companies.

A council spokesman defended the move, claiming that the money represented just 1.55pc of its £3.6bn pot.

11) Amey Lighting (Norfolk) - £6m

Amey has a 25-year deal to upgrade and maintain Norfolk’s street lights which started a decade ago.

The private finance initiative (PFI) is worth up to £150m with the county council footing all electricity costs.

The company’s East Anglian arm, Amey Lighting (Norfolk), made a post-tax profit of £449,000 last year.

12) Nottingham Rehab - £5.8m

The private company, whose ultimate UK owner is Leicestershire firm Acesco Healthcare Group Holdings, provides equipment for elderly care.

Its latest accounts, covering the 2017 financial year, list profits of £4.4m after tax.

13) First Eastern Counties Buses - £5.6m

The firm runs buses across the county, including on coastal and rural routes, which the council subsidises.

Its ultimate owner is FirstGroup, a public limited company registered in Scotland.

But First said the figure in the council accounts was not correct.

Steve Wickers, managing director at First Eastern Counties, said: “First Eastern Counties operates a small number of local bus service contracts on behalf of Norfolk County Council, worth around £360,000 per year, and supplies school transport services to the Council, worth just over £300,000 per year.

“The remainder of the sum is reimbursement for concessionary travel for the elderly and people with disabilities, which is paid to all operators of local bus services.”

14) Norse Transport - £5.5m

One more Norse Group stablemate, providing minibus and coach services for adults and school children with special needs.

Contracts include an eight-year deal signed in 2015 to provide transport for John Grant School in Caister-on-Sea, worth an estimated £360,000 a year.

15) Norse Environmental Waste Services (NEWS) - £5.4m

The fourth firm under the Norse Group umbrella in our top 20 was paid more than £6m from the council last year.

The council-owned company, known as NEWS, forms the Norfolk Waste Partnership with the county’s seven other councils.

The 10-year agreement sees NEWS handle materials recycled from kerbside collections, including glass bottles and jars, cartons, tubs and trays.

Last year we reported how NEWS shipped waste paper collected from the county’s homes 13,000 miles away to China for recycling, rather than processing it in similar facilities just 40 miles away in King’s Lynn.

The Far East market paid more, the company argued.

16) BT (British Telecom) - £5.3m

The telecoms giant was handed more than £5m to roll out “superfast” broadband to rural areas, as well as other works relating to ICT and highway projects.

17) Action for Children Services - £5.3m

Part of Watford-based charity Action for Children, the group had a turnover of nearly £37m for the year ending April 2018.

They use council funds to run children’s centres in locations such as Drayton, Aylsham, Sprowston and Stalham.

18) Academy Services (Norwich) - £4.8m

Academy Services – a partnership between a UK construction company and a Franco-Belgium public finance firm – began a 25-year PFI project with the council in 2006 to build six schools.

The contract value is £79m, but government figures estimate taxpayers could pay £148m by the end of the deal.

Its ultimate owner is UK business Redwood Partnership Ventures 2, according to corporate records.

19) Healthcare Homes Group - £4.5m

The primate limited company runs nine nursing homes in Norfolk for elderly people and those living with dementia.

In August this year inspectors from the CQC watchdog rated its Overbury House facility in Wroxham, which caters to up to 61 residents, “inadequate”. Its other homes are rated as “good”.

20) King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council - £3.9m

The borough was sent several millions of pounds in rent payments, grants, credits for recycling rubbish collected by the borough council and payments to dispose of hazardous and clinical waste collected by district councils.

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