Financially struggling local authorities should use competition to drive value for money for waste collections, representatives from the resource and waste management industry say.
The Environmental Services Association (ESA) says councils are 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.
However, the ESA’s executive director, Jacob Hayler, warns that this is taking away the opportunity for those councils to use the market to find the best solutions to fit their local circumstances.
Speaking at RWM, the sector’s annual trade show in Birmingham’s NEC, Mr Hayler acknowledged the ‘unprecedented’ financial challenges faced by councils today and said they were best placed to decide how they managed their finances.
He said, however, that the ESA believes the market is ‘best placed to deliver value for money.’
‘ESA recognises that many Local Authorities are concerned about locking themselves into inflexible arrangements for up to 10 years for their waste collections,’ he told the RWM audience.
‘But outsourced collection services can provide any degree of flexibility that councils require, provided that such flexibility is built into the commissioning and procurement of these services up-front.
‘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.’