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Carillion collapse: Wolverhampton council to step in and pay school caretakers

By Simon Penfold | Wolverhampton | Business | Published:

Wolverhampton council has moved rapidly to cover Carillion caretaking and maintenance staff at four schools in the city following the company's collapse on Monday.

Highfields school was completely rebuilt by Carillion under the Building Schools for the Future programme, and the company had continued to provide caretaking and maintenance services

The company rebuilt and refurbished 26 secondary and special schools across the city as part of the £270 million Building Schools for the Future programme. Under the deal it secured long term maintenance contracts.

While many of the schools have since become privately run academies, four remain under the local authority: Highfields, Heath Park and St Matthias secondaries and Penn Fields special school.

More on the collapse of Carillion

A council spokesman said: “Caretaker and maintenance staff will continue to work as normal and will get paid.

“Contingency plans are in place with the Private Finance Initiative to ensure a seamless transition when the service is no longer able to be provided by Carillion.

“The workers will have the right to transfer employment.”

But the position of the schools that have become academies is less clear. As independent organisations they will have their own, private, contracts with Carillion but efforts are underway to try and provide some kind of assistance. A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "We have been working to support any local authorities or trusts that are affected."

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Meanwhile a city-wide taskforce is trying to co-ordinate a response to the collapse of the company and its potential impact on local suppliers as well as the 400-strong workforce at Carillion's headquarters in the city centre.

Chair of the taskforce group, Councillor John Reynolds, said: “There are still many issues that require clarity and we will be working through them with city and regional partners, such as the West Midlands Combined Authority, Black Country Chamber of Commerce, Department for Work and Pensions, Black Country LEP, and others over the coming hours and days.

“We will also be closely monitoring the national position and liaising with colleagues in government.”

As part of the taskforce, the Black Country Chamber of Commerce has set up a dedicated telephone line and email address to support local businesses that may be affected

Any business needing support or with questions relating to the situation at Carillion please call 01902 912322 or email carillionhelp@blackcountrychamber.co.uk.

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.

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