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Suffolk County Council in dispute with roads contractor Kier over work valued at £1.5m

09:00 05 November 2015

Cabinet member James Finch.

Cabinet member James Finch.

Suffolk County Council and its highways contractors Kier have been in dispute over work worth about £1.5m, it has emerged.

But the authority says this is a very small proportion of the work that has been undertaken – and that talks between council and contractors are helping to resolve the issue.

The details of the dispute emerged during a meeting of the county’s scrutiny committee which was looking at the controversial contract with the civil engineering giant, which started in October 2013.

Opposition transport spokeswoman Sandra Gage said there remained serious problems with the contract – and two years into its five-year term these should have been ironed out.

She said: “They have been talking for some time about teething troubles but two years in it is too long to talk about teething troubles.

“There are serious issues that still need to be resolved. There have been disputes about £1.5m worth of work. That has to be sorted out.”

Ms Gage said there were signs that the council’s Conservative administration was starting to be tougher with the contractors and this has led her group to decide not to call immediately for the contract to be brought back in-house.

“But we are still concerned about the delays in carrying out work and the bureaucratic issues. There is still a lot to be done.”

Cabinet member for highways, James Finch, said things were improving – but it would be necessary to ensure some of the bureaucratic barriers were removed.

He was hopeful that there would be no more issues over contracts, but he added: “We shall continue to check all the invoices. We have to ensure council tax payers get the best possible value for money.

He said: “The scrutiny committed expressed some concern that there were outstanding invoices and the committee was informed at the meeting that a process of resolution for payment of these has been agreed.

“It was concluded at the meeting that there was a way forward for resolving and avoiding operational issues in the future by improved integration.

“There have been a lot of successful projects carried 
out this year. Approximately 
£20million worth of work has been completed since June this year, providing a cumulative of £80m worth of work since the beginning of the contract.This has been created through excess of 60,000 individual orders. A small number of these are in dispute but a way forward has been found to resolve these now and in the future.”

The scrutiny committee is expected to look again at how the highways contract is working next year to see if things are improving.

5 comments

  • Correct Esco, Newman was a figure to be regarded as highly efficient and competent when compared to the current offering whose name i cannot include in this comment lest i fall victim to moderation which seems to happen whenever it is mentioned in context.

    Report this comment

    Mike Hunt

    Thursday, November 5, 2015

  • Keir what a bunch of Cowboys I witnessed a small pothole outside our house being filled in by some obese Keir worker,he shuffled a few load of Tarmac in it and then proceeded to roll it in with tyre of the transit this is not the way to do it no wonder the company are losing contracts when you employ Cowboys like this the whole traffic system and work carried out needs to be over hauled and improved the Town and surrounding areas are a joke and total mess I don't think the council has a clue or the person who sanctions these road improvements sad day but it's totally true.

    Report this comment

    mr right

    Thursday, November 5, 2015

  • I had a face to face talk with Sandra Gage earlier this year about the state of the roads and traffic in Ipswich. I mentioned that at least Graham Newman had been sacked and she replied that his replacement was even worse. God help us.

    Report this comment

    Esco Fiasco

    Thursday, November 5, 2015

  • Ah the singing councillor James finch the man who replaced the legendary mr newman , where do they get these clowns from ...is he likely to admit that the roads were better under council workers , the private companies don't give a hoot and £1.5 million is a lot of money to be so casual about.

    Report this comment

    deeber

    Thursday, November 5, 2015

  • When you have one of the biggest civil engineering companies in the country arguing with our 'amateurs' at SCC there can only be one winner. When will we wake up and realise that all of this Tory privatisation - care homes, council work, transport etc. is pretty disastrous.

    Report this comment

    uk column

    Thursday, November 5, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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