A waste framework for councils to save money
A new waste management services framework could deliver major savings for local authorities, as Christine Batty explains
The waste management services framework has been jointly developed by iESE (formerly Improvement and Efficiency South East) and the London Waste Recycling Board. From across southern England, London and the West Midlands the framework has 141 local authorities signed up and has the support of Keep Britain Tidy, WRAP and Defra.
The idea is to help local authorities secure a better deal by leveraging their £1.7bn anticipated spend on waste management, street cleansing and grounds maintenance services over the next four years. Not only does the framework present an opportunity to secure the same, if not better standard of service, but the standard timeline of 12 to 18 months to procure a waste or grounds maintenance contract can be cut in half, resulting in additional savings.
The pressure on public finances is biting deeper and is set to continue. A high-quality waste management service is critical to residents and the framework offers one solution for councils looking to save money without sacrificing service quality.
With the outsourcing of waste, street cleansing and grounds maintenance services commonplace in local government, iESE has replicated the success of its construction framework. The idea was to harness iESE's extensive waste market knowledge and established relationships across the waste industry to deliver efficiency savings for the public sector and provide a smoother access to market for waste suppliers via the creation of a waste service framework.
Talking with a number of councils the potential for major savings soon became clear, as did the timeframe for delivering the framework. With significant waste and grounds maintenance spend due for renegotiation in the next four years it was essential that a waste framework started soon and covered this period.
It was also clear that some level of practical support would help. Often a lack of specialist procurement skills compromised a council's ability to secure the best deal. IESE was clear from the outset that stakeholder engagement was essential for the waste framework to succeed.
Waste suppliers and local authorities, together with the support agencies, were involved in its development. This co-design meant that operational stumbling blocks were foreseen and removed and that the framework was built so that benefits to all parties could be achieved.
Discussions with waste professionals in local authorities resulted in the framework including four categories of service to meet required needs: recycling and waste collection; street cleansing; grounds maintenance and bulky waste collection.
It was important to councils that local providers such as SMEs and the third sector weren't squeezed out by the larger organisations. To ensure this didn't happen and to help level the playing field iESE divided the categories into geographical lots for different value contracts. This enables the smaller, local organisations to compete and their inclusion provides a positive message to the community.
IESE used its procurement experience to complete the notice for the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), the pre-qualification questions assessment and the development of the invitation to tender to 24 bidders. InFebruary, iESE and an appointed evaluation panel will select suppliers, and in April the framework will go live.
For local authorities it means that rather than having to go through the full OJEU procurement process, they can 'calloff' through a mini competition a combination of waste services. This means local authorities are able to award a contract in approximately half the time it takes to complete a full OJEU process.
In response to requests from local authorities, iESE has formed a waste framework team, which will help councils prepare for procurement and will be on hand during the mini competition.
Support includes practical assistance such as standard templates and documentation for contracts, pricing mechanisms and KPIs, together with up to date procurement information.
All of this is geared towards making the waste procurement process much simpler, saving time and money. It also benefits waste suppliers through a quicker more consistent tender process.
Christine Batty is project manager for the waste framework