Bins contract ought to be carried out directly by Northampton Borough Council rather than much-criticised firm, Labour says

A decision to rule out any rivals for the public bins and maintenance contract held by Enterprise has been questioned by the opposition leader.

Tuesday, 8th November 2016, 5:38 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:58 pm
Enterprise collections

Northampton Borough Council has said it is to consider next week simply continuing to outsource environmental services to the controversial firm when the current arrangement runs out in June 2018.

But Northampton Labour group leader Councillors Danielle Stone said the apparent refusal to look in detail at other options: "We are really disappointed that the Borough Council seems to be ruling out the option of bringing Environmental Services back in house.

"We repeatedly asked for the Borough Council to set up an in-house bid team to compete against offers from private sector contractors. They don’t seem to have done this."

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Enterprise has been criticised regularly for several years because of short staffing on bins, grass cutting and grave digging.

Some of the brickbats over the years have even came from cabinet members themselves, who have gone on record to decry Enterprise's performance.

But the council has insisted it worked with experts to consider three options: bringing the service back in–house; setting up or using an existing local authority-owned company or continuing to contract out the service and going back to the market to award a new contract.Each of the three options was examined in detail, and whilst all three are likely to be more expensive, officers and ruling councillors concluded than the current contract, overall contracting out performed better on an assessment of quality, risk and value.

Councillor Stone said she was unconvinced.

She said: "Seven years ago the Borough Council tried an experiment in the privatisation of its environmental services and it failed. The town has been a mess at various times with rubbish. It seems the Borough Council haven’t learnt the hard lessons of the past seven years.”