ESA says councils should outsource waste services

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Pic: By Angelo Tsirekas
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The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has launched a campaign to promote the use of outsourcing to provide cost savings and drive innovation for local authorities and their residents. 

More councils are shifting from competitive tender procedures for their waste services, to moving services in-house or by using a “Teckal” exemption from the Public Procurement Directives.  

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The organisation has said that this is taking away the chance for those councils to use the market to find the best solution for their local circumstances.  

ESA executive director Jacob Hayler said that it does not surprise him that councils across the country are analysing their options during “financial challenges” for this sector. 

Local authorities are under huge pressure to maintain service levels for their residents, as well as improving recycling performance, and saving money. 

This has led the executive director to believe that “councils are best placed to decide how they want to manage these trade-offs, but we believe that the market is best placed to deliver value for money”. 

He added that by moving risks to the private sector, these authorities would be able to protect themselves from unforeseen costs and gain better certainty over their budgets, but the risk for generating a good service to cost is enforced through legal obligations under the contract.   

The ESA boss said: “ESA recognises that many local authorities are concerned about locking themselves into inflexible arrangements for up to 10 years for their waste services. But we believe that competitive tenders – open to both private and publicly owned service providers – can be used to protect councils from changes in future legislation in the most affordable way.” 

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