Managing Director Peter Hawes opened the Norse Commercial Services 2012 AGM by thanking the entire company staff, saying that they had all played a part in Norse’s successes of the past year.
David White, Chief executive of Norfolk County Council and Chairman of Norse then spoke of the tough economic climate saying that, with its innovative approach and well established business model, the company was in pole position to develop strong and profitable public sector partnerships.
He said that Norse’s commitment to staff training, customer focus and recognised local authority alignment would be increasingly attractive to other councils looking to achieve cost savings via joint commercial ventures.
Norse Group Managing Director Mike Britch next gave a brief overview of Norse Commercial Services’ contribution to the Group, commenting that the company was “flying high, at a time when most other firms in the sector felt like they were drowning.” Reiterating David White’s views, he commented, “more councils are already waiting to talk to Norse about transferring services to the company’s well-proven joint venture model.”
Peter Hawes then began the main body of his address, highlighting some of the major achievements of the preceding twelve months and listing a number of recent high-profile contract wins and renewals.
He said that the company’s diverse markets provided a broad base that represented strength for future security. Environmental services, Facilities Management, Cleaning and Catering remain the largest sources of income for the company, and Peter recognised that new commercial ventures were more likely to be at the margins rather than from the primary business activities.
In these times of economic pressures on both the public and private sectors, Peter said Norse’s performance was outstanding, with growth of 18% far outstripping the industry sector average of under 6%.
He also acknowledged the importance of training the right staff for Norse’s future, detailing the comprehensive, companywide, apprenticeship schemes that the company runs. Here Gerry Wyke thanked Norse for its involvement in Project Search, helping people with learning difficulties to find work; again Norse’s performance – 70% success rate as opposed to around 6% nationally – was exemplary.
The on-going learning ethos, Peter pointed out, is embedded in all layers of the company’s human resource structure, with recent management development enabling those looking for career progress to gain a view of other areas within the organisation.
Ending his report Peter said that, with the government’s current encouragement to local authorities to work with each other in sharing resources, Norse stood out as a catalyst for positive change. The company’s people, culture, infrastructure and financial security ensured its long-term sustainability and security for its customers, its staff and its stakeholders.