Household waste and recycling collections in Slough will be brought in-house from December 2017, when the borough council’s current 15-year contract with Amey is due to expire.
Councillors voted to bring Slough borough council’s environmental services contract, which includes waste and recycling collections, in-house on Monday night (19 September) after officers recommended the move would offer ‘flexibility’ over income and offer best value over a 10-year period.
The contract also includes management of household waste recycling centres (HWRCs), street cleansing and grounds and highways maintenance
A report to councillors ahead of the meeting on Monday noted that the Environmental Services and Highways work should be undertaken by a ‘Teckal’ company with the unitary local authority as a sole shareholder.
A forecast featured in the report suggests that by outsourcing the contract to the private sector, Slough could actually yield a saving of 28-30% against the total budget of around £8 million – compared to a 16-22% saving by bringing the service in-house.
However, by making the switch Slough argues it can generate income by offering services ‘outside the council’ – while migrating to an in-sourced two tier workforce would result in a £1.8 million saving – around £300,000 more than one provided by a private contractor.
“The key differential that influences delivery confidence and therefore the recommendation within this report from a financial perspective is the ability to trade and generate income for the council”, officers noted in the report.
“An insourced service will ensure that the council will not pay a profit margin on services that they would do if they were otherwise provided by the private sector. Therefore savings that are enabled to be passed back to the council are done so without rationalisation, restriction or reduction of service.”
Another factor behind the move is Slough’s target to recycle 60% of its waste by 2028. Last year the council achieved a municipal recycling rate of 29%.
Slough operates a three-bin collection system, with mixed dry recyclables collected from a red wheeled bin and residual waste collected from a grey bin on a weekly basis. Food waste is not collected.
The council’s decision not to outsource its Environmental Services contract will come as a blow to Amey, which has serviced Slough’s waste and recycling requirements since 2002.
At the end of 2015, the waste firm lost its municipal contract with Liverpool city council – which has also since moved its services in-house.