Stoke-on-Trent City Council is planning to end its £40m-a-year repairs deal with Kier. The council said “future options are being examined for the maintenance and repair of council housing and public buildings in the city.”

Kier has been carrying out repair work on 18,500 houses and a number of public buildings in the city since a ten-year deal was signed in 2008. The Kier/Stoke joint venture between the council and contractor is due to end in February 2018.

Stoke said its preferred option going forward “is likely to be to create a council-owned company.” The council added: It would continue the type of work currently undertaken by the same joint venture staff, and would look to provide opportunities for local contractors on longer term arrangements than have previously existed – giving the chance for local businesses to grow. “In addition, it would create opportunities to carry out third party work as a way of generating income into the council so it can be more sustainable for the future.”

Council leader Dave Conway said: “It is no secret that I have had some concerns with the joint venture with Kier Stoke, but I wanted this review to be undergone fairly, robustly and in a measured way. It is right that this has been examined independently in good time ahead of the contract ending in early 2018. We work closely with Kier Stoke and this will continue. We don’t want tenants to experience any disruption and we want to further improve services. There should also be no concern for staff at this stage. There have been many changes in local government since the joint venture began, and we need to be looking at ways to generate income, while also doing more to support our excellent local businesses in bidding for work locally.”

David Mawson, Kier Housing Maintenance managing director told the Stoke Sentinel: “Given the severe financial pressure that councils are under, it’s understandable that when contracts come to an end they will look to take things back in-house to try to cut cost by being able to cut back the service as budgets dictate. It’s obviously a shame because the joint venture has been incredibly successful, but we will work with the council through to February 2018 to provide an excellent service for residents, stability for the Kier Stoke team and our supply chain partners.”