Waste not, want not: council says moves to bring waste collection in-house will save cash

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Cutting down on waste is a key priority for East Cambridgeshire District Council when it ends its household waste collections and street cleaning contract with Veolia in April, the local authority says.

ECDC will be bringing its waste services in-house, with its trading arm, East Cambridgeshire Trading Company (ECTC), providing the services rather than through a further commercial contract.

The next 12 months will form a handover period where all staff from Veolia will be transferred across to the Trading Company through TUPE, a set of regulations protecting employees’ terms and conditions when services are transferred to a new employer.

The decision was approved at last month’s full Council meeting, following a review of the different options.

Residents should notice little difference as there are no current plans to change services but cost savings and improvements to service delivery are expected as a result of having direct control, the council says.

Jo Brooks, director of operations at East Cambridgeshire District Council said: “This decision has had very strong support from councillors and has been researched thoroughly to ensure it is the best option for both East Cambridgeshire District Council and for our residents.

“Transferring the service to The Trading Company will directly reduce the amount of money the council spends on waste whilst not reducing the level of service for local people.

“It will also enable the service to be more flexible to future change.”

The Trading Company was committed to achieving ECDC’s recycling target of 60%, she said.

Councillor Julia Huffer, waste champion for East Cambridgeshire District Council said her team had spent a lot of time assessing different options as Veolia’s contract neared its end and came to the conclusion that direct provision of services was the best way forward.

“It will give us greater control over services and flexibility to make future improvements.

“We will no longer be paying a contractor’s profit margin and will be able to reinvest savings to provide better services for local residents.”

Anna Bailey, who chairs the council’s regulatory and support services, added: “East Cambridgeshire District Council is committed to being financially secure and stable, keeping a balanced budget and not passing on unnecessary costs to our local residents.

“This is another initiative through which we have demonstrated our commitment to ensuring taxpayers money is being spent in the most efficient and effective ways and the outcome will mean a better service for local people.”

As well as saving money on the contract, the move also removes the cost of the required EU procurement process for tendering for a new service delivery provider – an additional saving of around £250,000.