Agenda item

Amey Street Scene Contract

To receive a briefing from the Corporate Director on the latest position following the year-end financial outturn.

 

NOTE: Following consideration of a request for the Committee to consider this item in public, the papers have now been made available.

Minutes:

12.1    The Committee considered the report from the Corporate Director regarding the update on the Amey Street Care contract.

 

12.2    The Corporate Director gave an overview of the current position regarding Amey’s failure to obtain market average prices for recycling and a failure to sell on a proportion of recycling. The Committee were informed that the Council had calculated that the value of Amey’s underperformance was £297,031 and the Council, therefore, continued to withhold this amount.

 

12.3    The Corporate Director further stated that three meetings had taken place between Amey and Council Officers, where Amey provided the Council with Appendix 1, the waste flow in and out of the Eastern Avenue depot. These figures, however, did not address all of the concerns that the Council had and were subsequently described by Amey as illustrative only.

 

12.4    The Committee were informed that due to new information arising regarding the continuing situation it was likely that the sum in dispute could rise to approximately £315,000. There was also concern regarding the significant amount of recycling being contaminated, totalling close to 11% of all recycling being collected, and concerns regarding the possibility that the County Council could seek repayment in relation to recycling credits where recycled material had been sent to landfill.

 

12.5    The Corporate Director further stated that the Council had placed all reasonable pressure on Amey with regard to their performance. Service failure notices had been issued where appropriate, a first quarter performance penalty report was being compiled and two fixed penalty notices had been issued in respect of recent fly-tipping incidents in Matson.

 

12.6    The Chair thanked the Corporate Director and the Finance team for their hard work and report. He further thanked Councillor Cook, Cabinet Member for Environment, for all of his hard work in seeking a resolution and the Finance team for their diligence in noticing the issue.

 

12.7    Councillor Wilson queried the process for managing the contract and the performance of Amey and whether the Council were auditing the figures that Amey provided. In response, the Corporate Director stated that the Council received regular updates from Amey regarding their performance and returns which was how the discrepancy regarding recycling was flagged. He further stated that Council officers had been continuing to check stock levels at the depot.

 

12.8    Councillor Stephens stated that the contract was not fit for purpose and questioned whether there was an arbitration clause in the contract. In response the Corporate Director stated that that there was a contractual dispute clause in the contract, however he stated that he could not discuss this matter further while in public session.

 

12.9    Councillor Stephens shared his view that since the dispute regarding the recycling tonnage, the quality of Amey’s work had decreased and that he was receiving an increasing number of complaints from his constituents.

 

12.10 In response from a query from the Chair regarding the sum in dispute, the Corporate Director stated that as of the 18th July the outstanding amount was approximately £315,000.

 

12.11 The Chair questioned whether the Council’s external auditors would be able to act as arbitrators in the dispute. The Corporate Director advised that this would not be possible as they would not be seen by both parties as being sufficiently independent or expert in the issue under dispute.

 

12.12 The Chair sought reassurance that the situation be resolved as swiftly as possible. The Corporate Director replied that he could not guarantee that the matter would be quickly resolved. He also indicated that any contract transfer would be complex, disruptive and resource-intensive and could trigger possibly a lengthy legal challenge.

 

12.13 Councillor Stephens stated that he was pleased that the report had been made public. The Chair concurred stating that it was important that the Committee be able to discuss this issue in the public arena.

 

12.14 A number of questions were asked and the Corporate Director advised that the answers could not be provided in the public part of the meeting as the matters were exempt from publication. The Committee agreed to defer further discussions to the end of the meeting with press and public excluded by virtue of Paragraph 3 of Schedule 12A the Local Government Act 1972.

Supporting documents:

 

 
 
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