Serco has been awarded a £230 million joint collections contract by three councils in Norfolk – Breckland council, North Norfolk district council and King’s Lynn & West Norfolk borough council.
The contract was signed on 6 December 2019, but the identity of the contractor had until now remained secret in a so-called legal ‘standstill’ period.
The contract will initially run for nine years in North Norfolk and eight years in Breckland and King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, with an option to extend by up to a further eight years.
Regional director for Serco Annette Joyce said: “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.”
Serco will begin to provide the 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. The company is already the provider of waste services in Breckland, while Kier carries out collections for the other two councils under separate contracts.
It is thought there were just two bidders for the latest tender, with the unsuccessful bid believed to have been made by FCC Environment (see letsrecycle.com story).
In addition to household bin collections, Serco will also deliver 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.
Breckland council said that, during the first year of the contract, investment will be made into shared IT systems, so real-time service information is available to residents and it is easier for people to book additional services, such as garden waste collections, online.
The contract will also see a fleet of refuse collection and other vehicles rolled out, which will operate across all three council areas. These will include reduced emissions and hybrid vehicles.
Councillor Sam Chapman-Allen, Breckland council’s leader, said: “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.”
The contract represents the first time three Norfolk councils have jointly tendered for waste collection and associated services contracts.
“The waste service is the single biggest service provided by all councils”
In doing so they say they have saved on the process by sharing legal fees and procurement costs, rather than incurring three sets of costs for seeking a provider separately.
Councillor Brian Long, leader of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk borough council, said: “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 government district of Breckland was estimated to have a population of more than 130,000 in 2018, while North Norfolk is thought to have a population of more than 104,000. King’s Lynn & West Norfolk borough council represents a population of more than 147,000.
In the 2018/19 financial year Breckland council had a recycling rate of 37.4%, below the national average of 45.1%. North Norfolk had a rate of 39.3% and King’s Lynn & West Norfolk a rate of 42.1%.