Agenda item

Review of the Council's Wholly Owned Company: Unity Partnership Limited


Consideration was given to a report of the Chief Executive which provided the Cabinet with details of an Annual Review undertaken in September 2021 to determine the viability of the company, confirm whether it is fit for purpose in terms of service delivery and value for money for Oldham residents and the Oldham pound and that the ambitions of the company align to those of the Administration as set out and endorsed at Full Council in May 2021.

In February 2018 Cabinet agreed to the reshaping of Unity Partnership Limited (UPL). To support the Cabinet in making this decision, the Council had undertaken an options appraisal of the arrangements between UPL and Kier Partnership Limited. The outcome of that appraisal saw UPL become wholly owned by the Council. At the time, the intended purpose of UPL was to assure the sustainability and performance of services provided to the Council to increase the likelihood of the sustainability of UPL and deliver efficiencies.

As part of UPL becoming wholly owned by the Council a Partnership Agreement was entered into and this confirmed that annual reviews of the arrangements would be undertaken.

The Agreement provided details of the services provided by UPL on behalf of the Council and consisted of:

·         Highways

·         Property Services

·         Revenues and Benefits (Exchequer Services)

·         Contact Centre

·         ICT

·         Payroll (including Recruitment)

·         Consultancy (Business Change Services)

An updated Agreement from September 2019 was due to expire at the end of the initial term on 31 August 2020, but a Deed of Variation was entered into to extend the Agreement for a further period of five years, subject to annual review.

Due diligence in respect of all options had been undertaken by a team of council officers representing the key relevant areas; the outcomes of which are set out in various sections in this report.

This review was now complete, and the report set out the outcome and recommended approach going forward for the Council.

Members spoke upon and welcomed the report.

Options/alternatives considered

Option 1 – Continue as is. For the reasons set out earlier in this paper – this option is not recommended.

Option 2 – mixed model of delivery. A mixed model of services provided by the Council and UPL could be developed where either additional Council Services transfer to UPL and/or more services transfer back to the Council. Again, for reasons set out in this paper – this option is not recommended.

Option 3 – Transfer services back to the Council and retain UPL as a wholly owned company for a minimum period of 12 months whilst the Council considers its delivery vehicle for Traded Services.



1.    The position outlined in this report in relation to the review and the subsequent options arising from this be noted.

2.    The options set out for the direction of travel and future model for services currently provided by UPL to the Council were considered and noted.

3.    The Chief Executive in consultation with the Director of Finance, Director of Legal and Director of Workforce and Organisational Design be given delegation to undertake appropriate consultation with all staff, Trade Unions and Partners setting out the view to transition staff and services provided by Unity Partnership Limited to the Council under TUPE arrangements.

4.    The Partnership Agreement between the Council and UPL be terminated and in doing so, the Director of Legal Services or their nominated representative be authorised to sign all appropriate documentation necessary for the purpose of implementing the recommended option.

5.    The Unity Partnership Limited Company would continue to trade for a minimum period of 12 months whilst a review of how the Council delivered Traded Services was undertaken. It was expected this review would be presented for consideration before January 2023.

6.    The Chief Executive and Head of Paid Service of the Council be appointed the Council’s Shareholder representative of Unity Partnership Limited whilst it continued to trade.








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