Services company Serco has been awarded a long-term contract worth up to £160 million to provide waste and recycling collections for the London borough of Bexley.
The council hopes that the deal, which is for an initial term of 10 and a half years but could be extended for a further five years, will result in it making immediate cost savings of £107,000 a year.
The contract, which began yesterday (November 2), also covers street and gully cleansing, commercial waste services, winter maintenance and depot management across the south-east London borough.
Immediate priorities for the new contract will include reducing the number of missed collections, improving the placement of recycling boxes once they have been emptied and addressing the commercial position of the debut.
Bexley’s current waste and recycling service involves weekly kerbside collections of source-separated recyclables using boxes and fortnightly wheeled bin collections of residual waste, as well as collections of garden and food waste using a brown bin.
In a bid to improve the service’s efficiency, reduce its carbon footprint by 40% and enhance the standard of cleanliness in residential areas, Serco, which has UK offices in Hampshire, also plans to introduce a number of initiatives.
These include co-ordinating waste and recycling collections with street cleaning, and reducing both vehicle movements and environmental impacts by running ‘one pass’ recycling services, which combine recycling operations in a single vehicle movement.
It also plans to run preventative marketing campaigns and introduce electric vehicles and biofuels.
The deal means Serco now provides environmental services for 14 local authorities UK-wide, and three in London, including waste and street cleansing services for the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (see letsrecycle.com story) .
The company’s chief executive, Christopher Hyman, said he was delighted Serco had secured the Bexley deal and looked forward to working with the council to improve the service.
He added: “This contract represents a further significant development for our environmental services business, where our innovative approach is leading to significant opportunities.”
Mike Frizoni, Bexley’s deputy director of environment and regeneration services, explained that the council had been impressed by Serco’s commitment to improve services and reducing their environmental impact.
Bexley achieved a 41.64% municipal waste recycling and composting rate in 2007/08, and Mr Frizoni said he hoped the new partnership would help to increase the rate further.
“We are looking forwards to working in close partnership with Serco over this long term contract and continuing to lead the way as London’s top recycling borough,” he said.
Under the deal, 28 employees of Kier Group, who currently oversee the council’s environmental services workers, and 170 staff working for Bexley Trading Services will all be transferred to Serco.
Serco is also set to buy the council’s existing fleet of 99 vehicles and ancillary equipment, at a value of £2.2 million, and introduce a full-phased replacement of vehicles over the contract term.
The company submitted a detailed transition plan for taking over the services from Kier and the council as part of the tender process.