WASTE CONTRACT FIASCO - Cllr Reason gives very patchy answers to questions
Sunday, 6 December 2009
QUESTION UNDER RULE 13 OF THE
COUNCIL MEETING ON:- 2nd December, 2009.
QUESTION FROM COUNCILLOR T Swift
TO COUNCILLOR Reason, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Social Care.
Award of waste contract to SITA and subsequent investigation.
Q1. In the light of continued public concern, will the portfolio holder now inform the council what the additional costs were in awarding the contract to SITA over a) the lowest bid submitted and b) the estimated cost of awarding the contract in two parts as set out in the independent inquiry report?
A potential lost saving from award of Lot 2 to SITA was identified in the PwC report which Clir Swift has seen. However, there may potentially have been hidden savings from a combined award which were not taken into account in the PwC estimate such as plant and equipment which might have an impact on any estimated cost calculation.
Ascertaining whether there is a cost following the award of the contract to Sita could be a complex process and would require considerable officer time. I'm sure most Members would agree that officer time would now be better spent focussing on ensuring that the increased recycling rates that we are seeing across the Borough are maintained, together with the continued reduction in waste that is going to landfill.
Q2. If he is unable or unwilling to provide the detailed figure, will he confirm whether the figures are likely to be either more than double or less than half of the figure of six million that has featured in the local press?
At this moment in time I would be unable to provide a detailed figure for the reasons specified in my previous answer. However, if the local press were able to disclose the source of the information they have featured this may assist in any future attempt to quantify the implied cost or otherwise.
Q3. What additional costs have been incurred by the Council since the introduction of the Sita contract other than the direct costs of the contract? In particular, what have been the additional costs of the problems associated with the introduction of new collection methods and how have these been paid for?
As Members are aware, one of the pressing issues for residents during the introduction of the contract was the ability to make contact with the Council and Sita through our call centre. In order to support the hard work of our call centre staff during the peak of implementation, additional resources were brought in at a cost of E50k. This cost was funded from the contingency fund which was set aside for contract implementation.
Q4. When did he as portfolio holder first become aware of the decision to go back to the tenderers and ask for a final quote?
Based on the timeline produced in the PwC report, I would have become aware that officers would have received a final quote between the period of 10 January 2008 and 18th February 2008 when Members ratified the contract award.
Q5. The PWC report states that the decision to move to alternatively weekly collections was taken by members in November 2007. Which members took this decision, and at what meeting?
I have not been able to find anywhere in the PwC report which makes reference to any formal decisions taken by Members in November 2007. At paragraph 2.3 of the report a timetable is shown which clearly indicates that Members ratified the contract award on 18th February.
Q6. On how many occasions was the waste contract discussed at the Leadership group between April 2007 and the award of the contract?
As Members will know, the constitution provides for the Leader of the Council to request the convening of consultative meetings, both regular and one-off, between Members of the Council and officers. On this basis it is for the Leader to determine if this requested information will be made available and I understand from speaking to him that he is not disposed to responding to this request.
Q7. Accepting that he was only an observer, was Cllr Reason present at any meeting prior to the award of the contract where a discussion took place as to whether or not the cost of subcontracting with a social enterprise should be included in final bids?
I do not recall being at a meeting prior to the award of the contract where a specific discussion took place as to whether or not the cost of subcontracting with a social enterprise should be included in final bids.
The point that I have consistently made throughout this whole process is that there should be a common approach to recycling across the Borough and this should include social enterprise.
A few further points I would make in response to this question. Firstly, the PwC report clearly talks of CMBC's desire to involve social enterprises in the waste collection contract and that this initially manifested itself in a move to ensure that social enterprise, and specifically Kerbside, was incorporated into the waste strategy. Secondly, the PwC report plainly states that their review of the records of the negotiations undertaken in order to seek a way for Kerbside to be involved in the delivery of the contract has shown that CMBC made significant efforts to bring both Kerbside and Sita together with a view to reaching agreement on how to work together.
Q8. Can Cllr Reason clarify which meetings of the waste contract procurement group he attended, and in particular which of the meetings he attended where the tender evaluation process took place?
I can confirm that I attended no meetings of the waste contract procurement group.
Hebweb News: Calderdale criticised by report into Council handling of contracts and deals with SITA (Sept 2009)
Hebweb News: Kerbside's Paul Brannigan to fight election
Hebweb News: Wheelie bins are on their way
Hebweb Forum - Wheelie Bins
Wheelie Bin database - enter your postcode and see if you will be receiving one.
Hebweb News: Calderdale/SITA cut refuse collections to once a fortnight
Hebweb News: Kerbside Urges firm action from local politicians (Jan 09)
Hebweb News: Talks break down: Sita reject Kerbside (Dec 08)
Hebweb Forum - Kerbside, what next?
Hebweb News: Kerbside: the gloves are off - report of public meeting of 29th November (Nov 09)
Hebweb Forum - Barbara Green's plea to write to Hazel Blears
Hebweb News: Halifax demonstration (July 2008)