21st Oct, 2016

Bin collection changes could 'bring savings'

Rob George 26th Jul, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

A TOTAL of £500,000 of taxpayers’ money could be saved if district council chiefs back plans to allow bin collections across South Worcestershire to be run by one company.

The savings could be made as a result of Wychavon District Council and other councils, including  Worcester City and Malvern Hills District Council, offering companies the opportunity to bid for a joint contract for waste and recycling collections.

Wychavon has used a private company to provide such services since  the early 1990s which has already resulted in significant savings.

But by negotiating a joint contract it is believed even more money could be saved without affecting the quality of the service.

Wychavon and Malvern Hills are also considering joint agreements for other environmental services such as street cleaning and maintenance of public toilets.

Worcester City would make its own arrangements for those services.

A report by consultants Globe Environmental Ltd revealed a joint contract for environmental services for the three south Worcestershire district councils could collectively save up to £1.5million.

The services currently cost the three councils £10.5million to provide. However maintaining the level and quality of service is becoming challenging given the scale of government cutbacks. As a result, Wychavon needs to save £4million by 2017.

By having one company provide street cleaning, bin collections and public toilet maintenance it would allow them to be provided more efficiently and reduce the overall cost to the taxpayer.

Councillors in Malvern and Worcester are due to consider the proposal at a meeting on Tuesday (July 28).

Wychavon will consider the plan later this year as it already uses a private company to provide such services.

Coun Emma Stokes, portfolio holder for environment and street scene on Wychavon District Council, said: “We have used a private company to provide these services for some years now and not only have we seen satisfaction levels increase but it has saved money and allowed us to keep Council Tax down.

“If this joint contract went ahead then our residents will see little or no change to the services they receive now, but it will allow us to meet the financial challenge we face in a way that does not impact on front-line services.”

If the plan is approved companies will be invited to bid over the next 12 to 18 months with a recommendation expected to be put to councillors to consider in late 2016 or early 2017.

The new deal would then come into force in September 2017 once Wychavon’s current contract expires.

If any of the three councils decide not to proceed then they can still do it alone or as a pair but the potential savings will be reduced.

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