9 January 2019 by Will Date

Kier seeks early end to Cheshire West and Chester contract

Services firm Kier has asked to bring to an end its waste and recycling collections contract with Cheshire West and Chester council from April 2020 – six years ahead of plan.

The contract is the latest to have been shed by the company, which is also bringing an end to its collection work with East Sussex councils later this year, and the Somerset Waste Partnership in 2020.

Cheshire West & Chester collects dry recyclables source separated from households, as well as operating a weekly food waste collection and garden waste collections

As part of the proposed arrangements with Kier, Cheshire West and Chester council will receive a financial settlement, together with the transfer of vehicles and other assets to enable the existing service.

No initial changes to the council’s collection service are expected. The current collection regime involves a kerbside-sort recycling system, as well as a weekly food waste collection and garden waste collections for over 147,000 households.

LATO

Next Wednesday (18 January) the council’s cabinet will consider plans to bring the service back into local authority control through a Local Authority Trading Organisation (LATO). Subject to Cabinet approval, and the completion of negotiations, the handover would take place in April 2020.

Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Karen Shore, said: “Kier approached the council with a proposal to end the current contract and we have considered all options before bringing this report before Cabinet.

“Our waste collection and recycling service is incredibly successful and one of the highest performing in the country, which is in no small part down to the dedicated workforce and our residents’ commitment to recycling. Any decision taken will prioritise sustaining the high quality of service that residents are used to and ensure continuity for the staff that delivers it.

“If approved by Cabinet the transfer from Kier would not take place until April 2020, giving us plenty of time to ensure a smooth and seamless handover. Our plans ensure that residents would see no change or disruption to their service, which will be delivered by the same staff, collecting the same things, using the same vehicles, boxes and bins.”

A spokesperson for Kier declined to comment when contacted by letsrecycle.com.

Contract

Cheshire West & Chester was previously contracted to May Gurney before the company was purchased by Kier. The acquisition was completed at an estimated cost of £221 million in 2013, and included transfer of a number of waste and recycling collection contracts.

When it was signed in 2011 – the contract was worth a total of £126 million across its 14-year term, and included an option for an additional seven-year extension.

According to the council, since beginning the contract “operational performance has remained stable, with current annual household waste recycling performance in excess of 58% and customer satisfaction levels of over 96%”.

“This level of performance has been driven through a combination of a dedicated local workforce and the council’s robust approach to contract management,” the council added.

In 2016 the council topped Eunomia’s recycling carbon index, recording an estimated CO2 saving of 109kg per capita from its recycling service (see letsrecycle.com story).

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