To receive the report of the Cabinet Member for Environment which makes recommendations for the delivery of Waste, Street Scene and Grounds Maintenance services beyond the current contract end date of 31 March 2022.
6.1 The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Cook, introduced the report and highlighted key elements. He outlined that the waste contract was one of the biggest decisions the Council would have to make as it impacted on the delivery of waste and recycling services to over 56,000 properties in the city, determined how streets would be kept clean, and how green open spaces, parks and playgrounds were maintained. Councillor Cook extended the Council’s thanks to the staff and management of Amey for work they had done to improve the relationship between the company and the City Council in recent years and particularly for the way they had sustained key public services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Councillor Cook then outlined that process that had been followed to produce the report. He expressed his thanks for the positive, constructive, and professional way in which Ubico and Urbaser had conducted themselves throughout the appraisal process. He stated that the process had been comprehensive, rigorous and fair and that if the recommendations in the report were accepted by Cabinet, Gloucester City Council would become both a part owner and customer of Ubico which brought with it a number of benefits.
6.2 The Transformation and Commercialisation Manager outlined in further detail the appraisal process which had been carried out. Len Attrill explained that the specification that both companies had been invited to price reflected the current service and that both had been asked to give a price for service enhancements that reflected current industry standard practice for streetcare. Overall, from a technical point of view it was considered that both were proposals were satisfactory.
6.3 The Chair reiterated that this was a significant contract and added that this was therefore an important area of scrutiny. Councillor Stephens thanked Officers and Len Attrill for their work on the options appraisal. He stated that he agreed with the recommendations as the best way forward for the residents of Gloucester, based on both the independent assessment carried out by KPMG and WYG, and the presentations delivered by both companies. Lastly, Councillor Stephens outlined that he welcomed the Ubico option which he believed was a true public sector partnership allowing for flexibility in the future if required. Councillor Lewis stated that he also agreed with the recommendations. In response to his query about how recyclates would be managed, Councillor Cook and the Waste, Recycling & Streetscene Manager explained that work had already been carried out with Amey in finding and setting floor prices for all of the City Council‘s recyclates, and thus it was not an area of concern. Regarding the recycling fleet, the Waste Recycling & Streetscene Manager said that it was not being replaced as it was only 4 years old, however the refuse fleet would be replaced.
6.4 In answer to Councillor Wilson’ query about the ongoing price certainty in the table in paragraph 5.3, the Corporate Director advised that Urbaser scored more highly because Urbaser‘s proposal included a cap on any future price increase, however Ubico was rated higher in other areas such as governance and flexibility. James Frobisher added that this was in relation to the maximum uplift that Urbaser would implement on the agreed price at the start of each contract year, however there remained a risk that the contract could increase beyond the 2.5% when looking at the aging asset cost certainty which would need to be agreed between Urbaser and the Council at the time. Councillor Wilson thanked them for their responses, and outlined that he welcomed the report, and agreed with the recommendations.
6.5 Councillor Pullen also indicated that he welcomed the report and hoped that the transition to the new contract would be seamless for residents. Responding to his query about the possibility of a combined depot with partners, Councillor Cook‘s view was that this potential opportunity could allow for savings and collaborative work with partner Councils.The Corporate Director added that this was a potential opportunity for to be aware of for the future, however, this would require a separate decision from the Council.
6.6 Councillor Hilton thanked Officers involved in the appraisal process, Len Attrill and Urbaser and Ubico. He then said that the Liberal Democrat group would support the recommendations in the report. Councillor Cook reiterated his thanks and congratulated Officers for their work in respect of the waste and streetscene contract from negotiating the deed of settlement, release and variation with Amey in 2019, through to their work in the recent options appraisal. Finally, he reaffirmed the recommendations in the report supporting a new contract with Ubico, stating that he believed this presented an opportunity to improve the delivery of waste, streetscene and grounds maintenance not only in Gloucester but throughout the county also.
6.7 The Chair expressed support for the recommendations in the report and noted that following a question asked to both Urbaser and Ubico presentations about Overview and Scrutiny the Ubico response had been the most positive, and receptive to ongoing monitoring and engagement with the Committee.
6.8 RESOLVED: - that the Overview & Scrutiny Committee NOTE and SUPPORT the report.
6.9 The Chair noted that this would be their last meeting as Chair of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee at Gloucester City Council having been in the role for the last 5 years. They expressed their thanks to the Vice-Chair, Councillor Ryall stating that her support had been invaluable. The Chair also thanked Councillor Lewis, Councillor Brooker and Councillor Finnegan, all current and former Spokespersons respectively. Finally, they thanked all Committee Members, Cabinet Members and Officers who had supported the Committee.