A HOUSING maintenance squad credited with improving the cleanliness of East Renfrewshire estates will be taken in-house by the council.

Council leader Tony Buchanan praised the workers, who deal with issues such as fly-tipping and close cleaning, as cabinet members agreed the council should take on the team.

It has previously been running under a contract with the Vocational Education Resource Group (VERG), a training and employability service provider.

That contract was extended in January after a council oversight meant the previous deal expired before retendering could take place.

However, council officers decided going to the market to retender could bring “risk”. A previous tender process only received one bid and the “scope” of the service hasn’t changed.

Officers believe the cost of transferring the staff, via TUPE, could lead to a “significantly higher” contract price.

Environment director Andy Cahill said the scheme has been a “huge success” and ceasing to offer the service would be unpopular with residents.

Mr Buchanan welcomed the “opportunity to bring these staff into the council”.

He said: “Over the years, since it has been in operation, we are more than aware of the success of the team in delivering many services across a number of the estates in East Renfrewshire and beyond.

“The general maintenance and tidiness of our estates is significantly better than it had been.

“The opportunity to bring it in-house is far better, not just for the future work that will be carried out, but for the staff as well who have shown themselves to be committed to delivering the services that have been required of them.”

Danny Devlin, councillor for Barrhead, Liboside and Uplawmoor, also praised the workers.

He said: “What a difference the mixed tenure team have made to the estates within East Renfrewshire, not just Barrhead but parts of the Mearns as well, parts of Thornliebank.

“Seven or eight years ago, you walked into these estates, you seen the debris lying about, you seen the unpainted closes, you seen the deprivation of fences, what a difference the mixed tenure scheme has made to these estates.”