Fifteen years after Newham Council 'out-sourced' its parks and green spaces service to private contractors, Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz has visited staff to celebrate the vital environmental work being brought back 'in-house'.
The move, which will see over 40 jobs brought back to the council, means all staff working in the department will now be paid at London Living Wage rates.
Speaking to staff at the council’s Folkestone Road depot, the Mayor said: “It was an important feature in my election pledges to look at all our out-sourced services with a view to bringing them back home to the Newham Council family. Bringing this service back under the council umbrella will give us much more control over how our parks and green spaces are managed.
“In light of the new priority given to environmental improvement of the borough, to meet the challenges of the Climate Emergency, I think it was key for us to re-take the reins, and begin to shape and improve our extensive range of parks and green spaces, to improve the quality of life, the environment and the health of our residents.
“I am particularly proud that by bringing the service back home, we can now extend payment of the London Living Wage to another group of workers whose efforts on our behalf deserve decent pay.”
Newham boasts 23 parks and around 45 green spaces which will now be managed by the new Parks and Green Spaces Service.
The move to bring the service in-house has been backed by substantial investment in plant and equipment including:
- £950,000 over five years for vehicles
- £450,000 over four years for large equipment
- £100,000 on purchasing smaller equipment
Cllr James Asser, Cabinet member for Environment, Highways and Sustainable Transport said: “We know that Newham residents enjoy and use the many parks and open spaces this borough has to offer, with 43 per cent of residents visiting at least once a week. Our green areas contribute positively towards Newham residents leading healthier, more active lives, and play a vital role in reducing air pollution and enhancing the public realm.
“In-sourcing will allow us to deliver a more flexible and better service as we prepare to launch our new parks strategy in the spring, and the council run service will also be more responsive to the wishes of local residents who we want to involve more in the future of our parks.
Investing in and improving our parks is important for the council and we are ambitious for their future.”