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Agenda item


To receive a verbal update on the progress made in the formation of an arms-length domestic waste services company.


Mr John Blackledge, Director of Community and Environmental Services advised that the decision had been taken by the Council’s Executive to set up an arms-length company to undertake domestic waste collection for a number of reasons including increased flexibility and ability to respond quickly to changes in collection requirements. He added that operating waste collections services through an arms-length company would also result in a budgetary saving of £750,000 for the Council.


Mr Mark Towers, Director of Governance and Partnerships reported that the new company had been incorporated at Companies House in October 2018 as a private company limited by shares with Mr Neil Jack, Chief Executive and Mr Towers named as directors on an interim basis. The company would remain dormant until 1 July 2019 when services would commence and a Board would be appointed in the lead up to that date.


The Advisory Board was informed that the project plan for ensuring the smooth continuation of services focussed on four key areas. Mr Trevor Rayner, Head of Procurement and Projects highlighted that a procurement exercise for new vehicles had been undertaken and 17 new vehicles were scheduled to be delivered throughout May 2019. He reported that work on required improvements to Layton Depot, where the new company would be based, including new bays for vehicle maintenance and improved security.


A further key area of the project plan focussed on ICT Software. A tender exercise to acquire a new software system had been undertaken and it was noted that a specialist company had been appointed to supply and install the new software. An implementation plan to install, test and train users, manage data integration and build interfaces that linked to existing customer service systems was ongoing. The new software would allow for real-time updates to be provided directly to the vehicles. The final key area was staffing and the Council’s Human Resources Service had been engaging early with Veolia and it was expected that 45 members of staff would transfer to the new company.


In response to questions, it was reported that the company had been set up as a private company limited by shares in order to allow for greater flexibility in potential future joint working with other local authorities in the delivery of waste collection services. Should an opportunity present itself in the future, full liaison with the Shareholder and the Company Board would be undertaken.


Members raised questions regarding the potential impact on residents and were advised that a successful transition process should result in no obvious change in service. Reports of levels of satisfaction with the current service provider were mixed and it was noted that the additional control offered by the provision of services by an arms-length company would ensure that additional responsibilities could be undertaken which addressed areas of existing complaints such as litter picking resulting from split bin bags. It was reported that a series of key performance indictors would be developed in order the performance of the company.


(Mr John Blackledge, Mr Mark Towers and Mr Trevor Rayner let the meeting following the conclusion of this item).