The delivery of waste services continues to challenge all local authorities as they strive to save money and yet deliver a quality service with continuous improvements in recycling performance. 

This note contains a Top 10 list of “Hot Waste Topics”  which your local authority may well be considering at the moment or at some point in the near future. 

1. Funding for waste services – the weekly collection support scheme
2. Looking to save money?
3. Extend or re-procure?  The seven year itch
4. Do you know who your waste operator is?
5. Keeping it in-house
6. Joint Working - we're all in this together
7. Scoping disposal solutions
8. Recycling - helpful guidance?
9. Communications - say what?
10. Procurement - risk taker?

Top 10 - Hot Waste Topics

  1. Funding for waste services – the weekly collection support scheme
    Are you prepared for the procurement and legal implications of a successful award from Eric Pickles for improving your waste services?  Are you considering a variation to an existing waste contract, or a new contract procurement for the roll out of a weekly food collection service or, the building of a facility to help enhance recycling?
  2. Looking to save money? 
    Times are tough and now that the biscuit tin is empty everyone is looking for different ways to save money.  Are you getting the most out of your existing waste contract?  Is it being managed and enforced so as to maximise service performance and efficiencies?  To what extent can you vary an existing waste contract, for example, to include a new service element, and maximise VfM or save money?
  3. Extend or re-procure?  The seven year itch.
    If the term of your existing waste contract is nearing the end, have you decided whether to re-procure or extend?  What could drive optimal VfM and what are the other implications of deciding on one option over another?
  4. Do you know who your waste operator is?
    An increasing number of operators are facing financial difficulties and there is a trend towards a consolidation of the operators in the market.  How does a local authority know about, or have any control over, the ownership of the entity that it has entered into a waste contract with?  What are the implications of a change in ownership of a operator on a local authority with an existing contract?
  5. Keeping it in-house
    What are the alternatives to outsourcing?  Could establishing a local authority controlled company allow for greater flexibility or cost savings for the service without outsourcing to a private sector provider?  How could a local authority company be used as a shared services vehicle, or as an 'incubator' for the service to be sold to the private sector or spun out as a social enterprise / staff mutual?
  6. Joint Working – we're all in this together
    An increasing number of local authorities are working together in delivering a range of services.  Could you achieve economies of scale by working jointly to procure a waste contract?  What issues need to be considered when thinking about this?  Are you looking to enter into an Inter-Authority Agreement with other authorities for the procurement of a waste contract, or as a WCA or WDA in respect of disposal arrangements or recycling contributions?
  7. Scoping disposal solutions
    Given the extent and structure of disposal procurements over the last decade, plus the fact that there are no more PFI credits available for waste disposal projects, what is the best option now for a local authority looking to procure a waste disposal solution?  What existing treatment capacity is there around?  What are the pros and cons of a long-term solution as against a short term one?  How do you invite and then evaluate the broadest range of solutions that may provide VfM?  What impact does the range of potential solutions have on standard risk positions, including planning?  Would an integrated solution be possible or beneficial? 
  8. Recycling – helpful guidance?
    What is your recycling target?  What does recycling actually mean?  For example, the Welsh Government are currently in consultation on a number of issues surrounding the meaning of recycling (including composting) and this may be an indication of the direction of travel that may be taken in England.  What could the impact of such changes be on you?
  9. Communications – say what?
    Communication with the relevant stakeholders involved in waste services is key, whether it is a new procurement, a roll-out of a varied service element under an existing arrangement or general education of users in order to improve performance.  There have been numerous recent examples that have highlighted the need for effective communication, whether with local action groups against incineration, or internally within the authority following a change in administration.  What internal governance processes and procedures do you have in place? 
  10. Procurement – risk taker?
    A pervasive theme throughout many of the above issues is EU procurement.  Are you permitted to take the course of action that you want to take under the procurement rules?  What are the risks involved?  How can these risks by minimised and mitigated?  If you are looking to procure a waste contract, just how much time does competitive dialogue take and how much does it cost, and what are the benefits of this as compared to other procurement routes such as restricted procedure?

How Bevan Brittan can help you

Our market leading Waste team that specialises in advising local authorities on all legal and procurement aspects of waste and environmental services, including collection and disposal. 

We will be part of a Free One-to-One Clinic at the RWM/CIWM resource efficiency and waste conference at the NEC in Birmingham on Wednesday 12th September.  We will be at the Communications Hub in Hall 19 supporting SLR on any technical/planning issues and Sauce Consultancy on any communication matters.

Click here to book a free 30 minute time slot with one of lawyers for a legal consultation at the RWM/CIWM conference in Birmingham

If you are unable to attend the RWM/CIWM conference in Birmingham, please contact one of our experts mentioned below to arrange an alternative date and time to suit you.

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