The boss of Norfolk-based facilities management and contract services provider Norse Commercial services said it is set to grow by nearly 50pc after securing more than £1.5bn of business on its books.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Peter Hawes, managing director of Norse Commercial Services, said the firm, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Norfolk County Council had benefited from public sector cuts as councils and public bodies look to save work by outsourcing and opted for Norse instead of private-sector firms.

The company, which was recently ranked in 15th place in the EDP Top 100, provides a range of council services across the country from emptying bins to school dinners, as well as running care homes in Norfolk.

It now employs more than 10,000 people, with more than 6,000 of those employed in Norfolk and Suffolk and it could reach 15,000 if the same levels of growth are maintained.

Recent long-standing contract renewals, including 10-year plus agreements with Suffolk Coastal District Council and Waveney District Council which are worth around £300m between them, have taken Norse’s annual turnover to more than £135m a year.

Last year Norse, which pays a dividend to County Hall of between £3m and £5m a year, also secured a £39m contract to carry out housing repair work for Norwich City Council and it has also won contracts in Ipswich, Felixstowe, Northampton, Wellingborough, Barnsley, Enfield and Devon.

However as it continues to grow, there are mutterings within the business community about whether it could attract the interest of a potential private sector buyer, while some have also raised issues about whether it has an unfair advantage in winning public sector work.

But Mr Hawes said that its public partnership model meant that it was not a suitable case for a sell-off. “The government is encouraging local authorities to work together to reduce their costs and we are fully following that agenda,” he said. “It’s pretty difficult to sell us off because a lot of the work we undertake is through public partnerships, which is a model created specifically for allowing us to work with other public bodies. This fits nicely with the shared services agenda of reducing unit costs through shared volumes.

“Councils are cutting back and do not directly want to undertake this work themselves and are quite happy to outsource without going to the private sector or keeping it in-house.

“We are able to have an offer which provides the best of both worlds. We know that whenever we start up a new partnership, we save 10-15pc by introducing commercial criteria.

“Our forward order book, the total value of revenue over the life of our current contracts and partnerships, shows just how strong and successful Norse is,” he added “The group as a whole employs more than 10,000 people and we envisage that could be up to 15,000 in two years time if we continue growing at this rate.

“These latest announcements, following on from long-term partnership agreements in Norfolk, make Norse not only one of the largest employers in the region, but also one of the most secure for the coming decade,” he said.

shaun.lowthorpe@archant.co.uk

7 comments

  • Apart from paying a dividend, is NORSE paying back the money owed for setting up in the first place? Are NORSE's close connections to cllr.s and the employment of many ex cllr.s and council employees an advantage for NORSE's work allocations, or are they a detriment? bad for the competition, also tendering for these contracts?

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Thursday, November 1, 2012

  • A very interesting article.

    Report this comment

    Matt83

    Thursday, November 1, 2012

  • I guess I'm not alone in not seeing the business financial reports. Is this a public sector monopoly or unwritten co-operative? I'm not saying this is wrong or bad but sometimes 'not for profit' gravy trains lose latent profit by paying top execs bonuses and hidden perks? How much are these people being paid to ride internal ( public service)advantages. I may be wrong but it seems strange a public service can profit from public service. It is tax payers money after all, so is it a self fulfilling circle?? creaming off easy cream?? very strange indeed.

    Report this comment

    Dave01

    Wednesday, October 31, 2012

  • Dave01 is 100% correct, I have been asking myself for the last few years if this is a public sector monopoly or a 'nationalisation' of all things linked to public sector services. My company has lost work to Norse in recent years, as have many, as part of this policy of bringing everything in house to 'save money'. Yet whats interesting is 'someone' has spent a small fortune on the site on Fifers Lane kitting it out with all the latest equipment, who paid for that & was that really cheaper than outsourcing to a private company who has already spent & invested in the equipment to do the job & employ local people ? This story is not going to go away as many local business people are unhappy at what they see as an unfair subsidised giant undercutting private sector companies then shouting about how great they are. Thank-you EDP for bringing this issue to the wider community.

    Report this comment

    Matt83

    Thursday, November 1, 2012

  • Norse runs the Park and Ride. It's a pity the Sprowston ones are not all Purple as they were in the beginning. They come in a variety of colours now, Purple, White, and Orange with the words Postwick “Park and Ride” boldly displayed on the front.

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Friday, November 2, 2012

  • Dave01 is 100% correct, I have been asking myself for the last few years if this is a public sector monopoly or a 'nationalisation' of all things linked to public sector services. My company has lost work to Norse in recent years, as have many, as part of this policy of bringing everything in house to 'save money'. Yet whats interesting is 'someone' has spent a small fortune on the site on Fifers Lane kitting it out with all the latest equipment, who paid for that & was that really cheaper than outsourcing to a private company who has already spent & invested in the equipment to do the job & employ local people ? This story is not going to go away as many local business people are unhappy at what they see as an unfair subsidised giant undercutting private sector companies then shouting about how great they are. Thank-you EDP for bringing this issue to the wider community.

    Report this comment

    Matt83

    Thursday, November 1, 2012

  • Do they pay their lowest earners a livable wage?...we should be told, as Norfolk County Council owns this matey hybrid organisation .

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Thursday, November 1, 2012

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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Most read business stories

Richard Marks, head of branch  Photo: Bill Smith

Norwich store will be part of John Lewis celebrations

The John Lewis store in Norwich will play a part in national celebrations marking the firm’s 150th anniversary.

Read full story »

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT