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Unique council contract will deliver a better service while saving taxpayers money

Three council leaders with a representative from Serco.

Published: Friday, 13th March 2020

Three Norfolk councils have joined forces to appoint a single provider to collect their residents' household bins, in a unique move which has saved local taxpayers money.

At meetings held in December, Breckland Council, North Norfolk District Council and King's Lynn & West Norfolk Borough Council each agreed to enter into a shared contract with a single provider of waste and recycling collections across all three district council areas. Following a subsequent legal 'standstill' period, it can now be revealed that the successful contract bidder is Serco.

In addition to household bin collections, Serco will also be delivering general waste and recycling collections on alternate weeks, household bulky waste collections, street cleaning, removal of fly-tipped materials, litter and dog bin management, and grass cutting. The combined contract is worth in excess of £230m and will initially run for nine years in North Norfolk and eight years in Breckland and west Norfolk, with an option to extend by up to a further eight years.

Serco will begin to provide the new service in North Norfolk from April 2020 and from 2021 in Breckland and west Norfolk, when the councils' current individual deals come to an end. Serco is already the provider of waste services in Breckland but different providers currently deliver the services in the other two districts. The new contract is unique as this is the first time three Norfolk councils have jointly tendered for waste collection and associated services contracts and in doing so they have cut the costs of the process by sharing legal fees and procurement costs, rather than incurring three sets of costs for seeking a provider separately.

Working together also brings benefits to service delivery, as cross-boundary working means vehicles, staff and other assets can be shared so the teams can work more effectively across multiple areas. During the first year of the contract, investment will also be made into shared IT systems, so real-time service information is available to residents and it is made easier for people to book additional services online, such as garden waste collections.

The contract will also see a brand new fleet of bin collection trucks and other vehicles rolled out, which will operate across all three council areas. These will include reduced emissions and hybrid vehicles.

CllrSam Chapman-Allen, Breckland Council's Leader, commented: "By working closely together with our partners we have been able to secure a contract which will deliver an even better service than we already receive, at a best-value price. That has to be good news for our residents and I look forward to seeing the brand new bin collection vehicles operating across our three districts later this year."

Cllr Brian Long, Leader of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, added: "The waste service is the single biggest service provided by all councils. Working jointly has meant we can offer an improved service and take advantage of cross-district collection rounds. This drives greater efficiency and lower emissions. The contract also includes some electric and hybrid vehicles helping us towards our quest for carbon neutrality."

CllrSarah Butikofer, North Norfolk Council's Leader, added: "I am delighted that by partnering with other councils North Norfolk will be able to provide improved refuse collection services and save costs for our residents. North Norfolk will be the first to see the benefits of this new contract when service delivery starts in April."

Regional Director for Serco, Annette Joyce, added: "Having successfully delivered waste, recycling, street cleaning and grounds maintenance for Breckland Council since 2005, we are looking forward to expanding upon this success with the award of this new shared services contract with these three councils. We delighted to be investing in a new shared IT system which not only will deliver real time service information for residents but will also enable the booking of services such as bulky waste collections quickly and easily online."

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