The Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, announced on Thursday 22 November 2012 that 90 projects from over 85 councils have been selected to share in funding from the over-subscribed £250 million Weekly Collection Support Scheme (Scheme). Are you one of the lucky ones? If so, you will need to consider how best to apply any cash awarded from the Scheme from a procurement, legal and VfM perspective.

Three issues for waste officers to consider are covered in this note:

  1. Variation of any existing waste contract
  2. Waste service value testing
  3. New procurement

Background

The Scheme was conceived by Eric Pickles as a challenge fund designed to support comprehensive and cost effective weekly collections that harness innovation, use new technology and spread reward schemes to increase recycling. The Department for Communities and Local Government (Department) is reporting that just over 6.2 million households will receive weekly collections of residual waste, although it is not yet clear how many local authorities are re-introducing a weekly collection as a result of the Scheme. Importantly, notwithstanding the focus on weekly collections, the Department is reporting that, in nearly all cases, successful bids propose delivering enhanced recycling services. 

1 Variation of any existing waste contract

If you have an existing waste contract, then this may be varied to accommodate any changes to the existing waste service arrangements:

  • Is a variation within the scope of the original OJEU notice? 
  • Is there a danger that a substantial variation to an existing contract actually constitutes a new award of a contract within the EU Procurement Regulations and therefore a new procurement is needed?

2 Waste service value testing

A local authority looking to vary an existing waste contract, for example to introduce a weekly food collection service, clearly needs to maximise value through the process:

  • Is there an opportunity within the variation process to market test and/or benchmark the new service? 
  • Does the variation process provide transparency over the contractor's costs?
  • Does the variation of an existing contract to introduce or re-scope a specific service provide an opportunity for a local authority to review the wider waste service for potential efficiency savings? 

3 New Procurement

Scheme funding has been awarded to support investment in new waste infrastructure, for example materials recycling facilities. A local authority that has obtained Scheme funding for such new infrastructure will need to consider:

  • the thresholds for the application of the EU Procurement Regulations,
  • the choice of procurement procedure and structuring of the procurement, and
  • internal and Department requirements for ensuring best value.

Next Steps and how we can help

Bevan Brittan has a market leading Waste and Energy Team that advises local authorities and the waste industry on all aspects of waste services including collection, management, disposal and energy generation.  We have been advising councils who have been awarded funding through this Scheme. 

We can help you to improve existing service arrangements and importantly to generate financial savings by advising you on:

  • variations to existing waste contracts, and
  • new procurements for waste services and infrastructure.