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Mouchel restructure is "good news" says Bournemouth council
BOURNEMOUTH council’s leader says its outsourcing partner’s restructure is “good news” – but opponents say employees should be brought back in-house.
As reported in the Daily Echo, shareholders in troubled Mouchel , which runs several of the authority’s departments, voted against restructure plans, which led to it appointing administrators on Saturday.
That was swiftly followed by a new company called MRBL Ltd, owned by the lenders of Mouchel Group plc and the group’s management, acquiring the businesses of Mouchel Group from the administrator, KPMG.
As reported, the move was Mouchel’s ‘alternative plan’ in the event that shareholders did not agree the restructure. It means shareholders will get nothing and shares were due to be cancelled yesterday.
Council leader Cllr John Beesley said: “Of course, we continue to manage, monitor and review the contract closely, to ensure that service targets are being met within the agreed contract price, so guaranteeing ongoing savings to the council.
“It essentially remains business as usual for our incremental partnership and our relationship with MRBL remains strong as they continue to deliver.”
There are still concerns over the stability of Mouchel and of the council’s “exit strategy” in its contract with the firm.
Cllr Anne Rey, leader of the Independent Group on the council, inset, said: “We were against it as opposition councillors and we were proved right. We wouldn’t be going into partnership with this company now on such a big scale.
“They had all the warnings and I think everything should come back in-house now and give the opportunity to the staff to say how they could do better. I think most of residents feel the same.”
Earlier this month Milton Keynes Council said it would be ending its contract with Mouchel.
Cllr Beesley said a contingency plan was still in place.
“Our utmost priority would be the uninterrupted provision of value for money services to the council and the residents of Bournemouth, and so, should it ever be necessary, the renegotiation of the contract, or even the insourcing of services and staff back to the Borough Council could take place,” he added.
Grant Rumbles, chief executive of Mouchel, said: “With a stable and supportive ownership structure and a balance sheet that is fit for purpose, Mouchel will be in a strong position to rebuild the business and start winning large contracts again.”