Joint waste contract could save up to £500,000

Allowing a private company to provide bin collections and other environmental services to Malvern Hills District Council could save up to £500,000 a year.

Malvern Hills District is joining forces with Worcester City and Wychavon District councils to offer companies the opportunity to bid for a joint contract to provide refuse and recycling collections for the three areas.

Each council would still retain control and responsibility of its own services but offering them collectively as one contract will result in significant savings.

Malvern Hills and Wychavon are also considering joint agreements for other environmental services such as street cleaning and maintenance of public toilets. Worcester City would make its own arrangements for those services.

A report by consultants Globe Environmental Ltd revealed a joint contract for the three south Worcestershire district councils could collectively save up to £1.5million. Negotiating a joint deal will still allow each council to operate different waste collections.

Environmental services currently cost the three councils £10.5million to provide. However maintaining the level and quality of service is becoming challenging given the scale of government cutbacks. Malvern Hills District Council has seen its government funding reduce by 27 per cent or £1.4million since 2010, with further cuts expected.

Councillors in Malvern and Worcester are due to consider the proposal at a meeting on Tuesday, 28 July. Wychavon will consider the plan later this year as it already uses a private company to provide such services.

If the plan is approved, companies will be invited to bid over the next 12 to 18 months with a recommendation expected to be put to councillors to consider in late 2016 or early 2017 for introduction in September 2017.

If any of the three councils decide not to proceed then they can still do it alone or as a pair but the potential savings will be reduced.

If the plan did get the go-ahead, about 40 staff working for Malvern Hills District Council would be transferred across to the new provider.

Ivor Pumfrey, head of Community Services for Malvern Hills District Council, said: "One of our priorities is to ensure we sustain high quality, good value services but that is becoming increasingly challenging as the financial pressure we face continues to mount. This proposal could help us save money so we can balance the books while keeping Council Tax down and maintaining the quality of the service residents receive."