11 October 2019 by Lucy Pegg

Cornwall delay after ‘unaffordable’ bids

Cornwall council has extended the procurement process for its waste and recycling collection contract after the local authority failed to receive an affordable bid.

The authority’s cabinet was told that the process for finding a provider for the waste services had only resulted in offers “outside the budget envelope” and so “it is recommended that Option 1 set out in the Part 2 report is implemented”. Details of Option 1 have not been released by Cornwall council.

The cabinet approved the Option 1 recommendation and also decided that a further report must be made to cabinet on 13 November to update members on the delay.

Cornwall waste contract

Offers for waste services in Cornwall have all been ‘outside the budget envelope’

The extension means that the two bidders – who are understood to be Biffa and Suez – will have to wait to hear who has won the contract, which is due to begin on 1 April 2020. Biffa is the incumbent contractor while Suez has a strong presence in south west England, having recently won the Somerset contract. It also run’s Cornwall’s energy from waste facility.

In July cabinet members decided that if all bids received were unaffordable for the local authority, officers would “return to Cabinet with alternative contingency options”.

Speaking at the cabinet meeting, Councillor Rob Nolan – Cornwall’s portfolio holder for environment and public protection – said: “The EU competitive procurement process is complex and has required significant engagement with the bidders.

“The process to date has unfortunately not resulted in an affordable bid submission.”

In a statement Cllr Nolan added: “It is important that we are able to be entirely satisfied that the process is affordable and that all options have been considered to ensure value for money for council tax payers.”

Current contracts

The new ‘Waste and Recycling Collection, Street and Beach Cleansing’ contract merges three separate current waste contracts. The bulk of the services covered are provided by Biffa at present, who have operated household waste collections since 2012.

Suez runs the integrated waste management contract for Cornwall – which covers waste disposal, processing and treatment – as well as the bulky household waste contract.

Cornwall waste contract

Cllr Rob Nolan, portfolio holder for environment and public protection

The three contracts being brought together have previously had a value of just over £128 million.

Biffa’s waste and recycling collection, street cleansing, beach cleansing and associated services contract had an estimated value of £125 million over its eight year lifespan. Its office waste & recycling collection, treatment and disposal services contract is worth another £1 million, whilst Suez’s bulky household waste collection, reuse and recycling services contract has a value of £2,409,288 over eight years.

Contract uplift

The procurement delay came on 18 September, a week after Cornwall’s full council voted for a £62 million ‘uplift’ to the contract’s budget. (see letsrecycle.com story)

The exact amount which will be spent will be determined following the award of the contract – however £62 million is the upper limit of the approved spending.

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