Local Authorities urged to use competition to drive money for waste collections

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The Environmental Services Association (ESA), has called for local authorities to use competition to drive value for money for waste collections.

Speaking at RWM, ESA executive director Jacob Hayler said that more councils were moving away from competitive tender procedures for their waste collections, either by moving services in-house or by using a “Teckal” exemption from the Public Procurement Directives.

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ESA believes that this is taking away the opportunity for those councils to use the market to find the best solution to fit their local issues.

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ESA’s executive director Jacob Hayler said: “It is no surprise that councils across the country are examining all their options during a period of unprecedented financial challenges for the local government sector. Local Authorities are under huge pressure to maintain service levels for their residents, raise recycling rates, and above all to save money. ESA agrees 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 ESA acknowledge that Local Authorities are concerned about being part of inflexible arrangements for up to 10 years for waste collections. However, outsourced collection services can provide any degree of flexibility that councils need, if the flexibility is built into the commissioning and procurement of these services up-front.

The chief executive said: “By transferring risks to the private sector, Local Authorities are able to insulate themselves from unforeseen costs and gain greater certainty over their budgets. The risk for delivering a quality service to cost lies with the contractor and is enforced through its legal obligations under the contract. This provides transparency and accountability in the delivery of the services, and – above all – value for money for local council tax payers.

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