My speech to the Overview and Scrutiny committee
Thank You Chair,
It won’t surprise you that the Labour Group has some big concerns about pursuing contracting out of environmental services. Northampton Borough Council’s experiment with environmental services has failed since it began almost 7 years ago. As Councillors we all get regular complaints about the state of the town and the piles of rubbish and fly tipping in local communities. Residents have come to Council meetings in recent times to discuss environmental problems in their neighbourhood.
Can you can remember when the present environmental services contract started? In the first week there was confusion and chaos with missed bin collections everywhere. When the present contract started we were told that there would be a huge leap in performance but the reality is that there has been a huge leap backwards.
What the Borough Council needs to do is set up an in house bid team made up of officers. A bid team could work up proposals to make an in house service become efficient, effective and provide value for money. We should not pursue privatisation for the sake of privatisation. The Labour Group believes the mistakes of the present contract have not been properly learnt. We have learnt the hard way when a company tries to maximise profits by squeezing the workforce.
Has the cabinet considered running a joint in house service with our neighbours? Such as with south Northants, Daventry and Wellingborough. We need to explore in more detail the option of an arm’s length company set up by the Borough Council.
Please don’t make previous mistakes. We would like environmental services returned and run efficiently and cost effectively in house. 7 years ago the then Cabinet ignored Labour concerns about the present contract and so please don’t make the same mistake.