WESTCOMBE Engineering, the Peterborough City Council-controlled company that provides engineering work for people with disabilities, will not be closed down.
Council leader Marco Cereste said he intends to refer the matter back to the cabinet in November to overturn a decision to close the business, taken in 2007.
Councillor Cereste said, “When Westcombe Engineering came back into the council’s control in July 2009, the interim managing director was given the brief to turn the business around, or, if that proved impossible, to prepare it for closure.
“A great deal of work has been done into reshaping the business, including introducing efficiencies and price reviews that were long overdue. As a result trading figures have shown a marked improvement this year. Perkins were involved in the process, and this lead to them having renewed confidence in the business, which they demonstrated by nominating Westcombe Engineering for a supplier award for achieving a 100 per cent record in terms of quality and deliveries. This is a fantastic achievement, for which the business is to be congratulated.
“The improvements in Westcombe Engineering have been so impressive that it now has the support of its major customer, Perkins, and a viable future. As a result I am delighted to announce that it is intended that Westcombe will not be closed, and will remain part of the council for the foreseeable future. The workforce and Perkins were told of this yesterday. I am delighted with the progress that has been made since Westcombe came back into council control, and congratulate all who have been involved in that success.”
Westcombe was set up in 1971 through the Health and Welfare Committee of Peterborough City Council to create employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities with the aim of providing them with a foundation from which to seek mainstream employment.
At that time, with the limited legislation supporting people with disabilities, sheltered workshops were seen as an appropriate and beneficial model for assisting individuals into the workplace. The engineering workshop produces precision machine tool components used by a number of engineering companies, with its main customer being Perkins Engines.