Daventry considers Norse for collections service

Daventry district council has proposed entering into a joint venture with council-owned Norse Commercial Services once its current waste collection contract with Amey ends in June 2018.

Norse Environmental Services (NES) is the arm of Norse which covers waste services.

Members of the council’s Strategy Group will meet on Thursday (9 February) to discuss the option, which would see Daventry and the Norfolk county council-owned business share ownership and control of the service.

Daventry council will look to beyond its joint contract with Northampton which ends next year

The council will also debate outsourcing the contract, bringing the service fully in-house, and sharing an ‘in-house’ service with one or more councils.

At present, Amey delivers waste and recycling collections in Daventry as part of a seven-year joint arrangement between the district and neighbouring Northampton borough council.

Enterprise

The two South Midlands councils signed the deal in 2011 with then Enterprise Managed Services, which was acquired by Amey in 2013. At the time, the partnership was expected to save the authorities millions of pounds (see letsrecycle.com story).

But Northampton borough council is now planning its own exit from the contract separately, pressing ahead with plans to outsource its collections once the contract ends in 2018 (see letsrecycle.com story).

A report prepared by council officers on the delivery of environmental services in Daventry notes that working with Northampton had suggested ‘the very different service requirements of a dense urban area do not readily cohere with those of the district’.

Norse

However, the report adds that the Norse joint venture offers a ‘high degree of local control’ and a ‘firm intention to grow commercial business and in doing so reduce the net cost of service provision’.

A Teckal-exempt company operating at arm’s length from Norfolk county council, Norse already enjoys other collection joint ventures with councils in England, including neighbouring Wellingborough which is factored into the proposal.

A Norse joint venture is typically 80% owned by Norse and 20% by the relevant council, according to the Daventry report, with two directors appointed by the authority and three appointed by the business.

Recycling and waste collections in Daventry and Northampton are currently handled by Amey

Changes

The new contract will also need to accommodate service changes confirmed by the council last year, including a shift to three-weekly refuse collections, fortnightly collection of recyclables using a full-sized wheelie bin, and weekly food waste collections.

According to the report, Norse has suggested a net saving of £288,000 per year if Daventry switches from separate collections of glass to fully commingled recycling, as the material can be separated at its MRF in Norwich.

On sending recyclables to Norwich, the report adds: “This may seem a surprising suggestion. However, it makes sense because the MRF routinely delivers sorted materials to northwest England via lorries using the A14 and M6. These lorries then return empty to Norwich. It would not require a large diversion for them to visit Daventry and collect the council’s recyclates.

“This solution also allows the council to agree gate fees for a period with Norse, reducing the risk that changes in recyclate values can bring.”

The option will be presented to the full council for consideration on 23 February. If the Norse joint venture is not agreed by April 2017, a separate procurement process will be initiated.

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