Monday, 8 October 2012

Brent to join with other boroughs to out-source 'Public Realm' including waste and parks maintenance

In a report to go before the Executive on October 15th LINK officers are recommending that the Council join with Barnet, Hounslow and Richmond in a 'super contract' see my previous blog HERE that will cover:

• Household waste collections and recycling
• Street Cleansing operations
• Graffiti clearance
• Winter maintenance
• Cleansing of public conveniences
• Grounds maintenance to parks and open spaces (including Brent Housing Partnership HP estates)
• Grounds maintenance to cemeteries and grave digging
• Highway verges and shrub beds
• Playground inspection and maintenance
• Warden service
• Commercial waste

Brent's contract with Veolia ends on March 31st 2014. The contract, across the 4 boroughs and BHP which may not all buy into all the services, would be worth £700m over the 16 year contract period..

In a controversial move the report recommends:
The Executive to give approval to an exemption from Contract Standing Order 88 to allow an advert to be placed and a pre-qualification process to be run without the approval of evaluation criteria and certain other pre-tender considerations, subject to approval of such matters at a future Executive
And further recommends, as a consequence of the problem of the lack of a Brent Council depot when the last contract was awarded to Veolia, that the Council acquire a depot. Andy Donald Director of Regeneration and Major Projects, appears to be leading on this:
That the Executive agree to an amendment of £6.2m to the Council’s capital budget for 2012/13 to procure a new depot as set out in section 3.6 of the report. If a suitable site is identified, due to the reasons set out in paragraph 3.6.6, that the final terms of any acquisition including the purchase price be delegated to the Director of Regeneration and Major Projects and the Director of Finance and Corporate Services in consultation with their respective Lead Members. Such purchase price to be contained within the amendment to the Council’s capital budget as set out within this report
As a lay person it seems to me that this is not a particularly transparent or accountable  process when the Executive is not fully involved in an exceptionally large contract.

The proposal has come as a surprise to people in Barnet where a large number of staff are involved. In Brent waste management and recycling are already out-sourced to Veolia and it is the Parks and Sports staff who are most affected. The report states:
For Brent, whilst the majority of staffing implications are for staff currently employed by the current contractor, there are implications for existing Brent staff in Sports and Parks and Highway Operations. The proposal is that in excess of 50 council staff providing grounds maintenance and a number of staff in other services are transferred to the successful provider. In addition, if the decision is to create a single client arrangement a small number of staff in waste and recycling would be affected,

TUPE will apply and presumably this will also be the case for the cleaning and grounds maintenance contractors currently employed by Brent Housing Partnership, which also comes under Andy Donald's umbrella.


Ed Dovey said...

At a recent "consultative forum", Brent Council claimed there were no plans to outsource parks maintainance. are they capable of telling the truth or giving a straight answer?

Martin Francis said...

Brent Council refused to answer a Freedom of Information question on this which I sent to them on December 30th 2011.