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Three councils, including West Norfolk, join forces for 'unique' bin contract saving taxpayers' money

Three Norfolk councils have joined forces to appoint a single provider to collect their residents’ household bins, in a move that officials say has saved local taxpayers’ money.

At meetings held in December, West Norfolk Council, Breckland Council and North Norfolk District Council each agreed to enter into a shared contract with a single provider of waste and recycling collections across all three district council areas.

Officials say they believe the move will also create a “more resilient and efficient service”.

West Norfolk Council
West Norfolk Council

Following a subsequent legal ‘standstill’ period, the successful contract bidder can be revealed as Serco.

In addition to household bin collections, Serco will also be delivering general waste and recycling collections on alternate weeks, as well as household bulky waste collections, street cleaning, removal of fly-tipped materials, litter and dog bin management, and grass cutting.

The combined contract is worth in excess of £230m and will initially run for nine years in North Norfolk and eight years in Breckland and West Norfolk, with an option to extend by up to a further eight years.

Brian Long, leader of West Norfolk Council, said: “The waste service is the single biggest service provided by all councils. Working jointly has meant we can offer an improved service and take advantage of cross-district collection rounds.

“This drives greater efficiency and lower emissions. The contract also includes some electric and hybrid vehicles helping us towards our quest for carbon neutrality.”

Serco will begin to provide the new service in North Norfolk from April 2020, and from 2021 in Breckland and West Norfolk, when the councils’ current individual deals come to an end.

The new contract is unique as this is the first time three Norfolk councils have jointly tendered for waste collection and associated services contracts, and in doing so, officials say they have cut the costs of the process by sharing legal fees and procurement costs, rather than incurring three sets of costs for seeking a provider separately.

Working together also brings benefits to service delivery, as cross-boundary working means vehicles, staff and other assets can be shared so the teams can work more effectively across multiple areas.

During the first year of the contract, investment will also be made into shared IT systems, so real-time service information is available to residents and it is made easier for people to book additional services online, such as garden waste collections.

The contract will also see a brand new fleet of bin collection trucks and other vehicles rolled out, which will operate across all three council areas.

These will include reduced emissions and hybrid vehicles.

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