Peterborough Contracting Out Services

17:40 Monday 24th January 2011
Drivetime BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

ANDY BURROWS: Peterborough City Council has announced where it will be outsourcing some of its front-line services for the next 23 years, would you believe. Enterprise Managed Services will provide waste collection and street cleaning in Peterborough, and will also look after the city’s green spaces. Earlier on today, on the Paul Stainton Peterborough Breakfast Show 95.7FM, we heard from one side of the new deal. Matthew Lee, who is the Deputy Leader of Peterborough City Council, said he’s hopeful that the new partnership will be successful. (TAPE)
MATTHEW LEE: This is a contract that’s over a long period of time. It allows lots of investment from this private sector company, but with all long-term contracts effectively there are break clauses, so if the company doesn’t perform, or there’s something wrong, it can come to an end. (LIVE)
ANDY BURROWS: That was Matthew Lee speaking to Paul Stainton this morning. Ian Edser is from Enterprise Managed Services, this company that’s going to take over the business for the next 23 years. 23 years! Ian Edser.
IAN EDSER: Yes. Good afternoon. Thank you very much for inviting me on.
ANDY BURROWS: That’s a long time.
IAN EDSER: It is, but to be honest it’s becoming the norm these days. We’ve got a number of contracts with local authority partners, which go for 23 years plus.
ANDY BURROWS: Why so long?
IAN EDSER: Well the beauty of the long-term arrangement is it gives both parties the opportunity to really invest into the services, to develop long-term plans, and really give back to the authority and to the community the best value for the way the services are actually delivered. This is a real incentive for ourselves and for the authority to develop.
ANDY BURROWS: Who pays who?
IAN EDSER: Who pays who?
ANDY BURROWS: Do you pay for the contract, or do they pay you?
IAN EDSER: Well the authority pay us. But obviously we price on the basis of the specification that the authority put forward, and set out our proposals as to how we are going to deliver the services from day one, and then ultimately over the 23 years a development and improvement plan.
ANDY BURROWS: Right. I’m always interested to know exactly how these things work really. So they’ve got this deal effectively on the table to you and other companies that says right, we will need everybody’s bins in Peterborough collecting once a fortnight, you know, black bins one week, and then the green bins and the brown bins the other week. And we want you to do it for the next 23 years, along with everything else. So do they say, do they come to you and say well, we need you to do it for this figure? Is that how it works?
IAN EDSER: The way it works these days is the authority will come forward and say this is what they call the affordability envelope. This is the cost of the current services to deliver. This is what we’re looking for the private sector to actually provide in the way of services. It could be the same services, or it could actually be an opportunity for the authority to look innovatively at the way the services are delivered, and say, are there other opportunities and options? For example, Peterborough is very keen on the introduction of food waste as a core service to the community.
ANDY BURROWS: What’s that mean?
IAN EDSER: It’s part of the ..
ANDY BURROWS: Are we going to get another bin?
IAN EDSER: Potentially there would be another bin in that respect. But that’s for food waste separation. So that’s an example of where the authority has got to meet stringent targets in respect of recycling.
ANDY BURROWS: Because Peterborough already recycles. I know this because I live in Peterborough right. So Peterborough’s recycling target is much higher than the national average so far as I’m aware, because they’ve been supplying people with green bins, they’re green in Peterborough’s case, for a long time now. Lately they’ve encouraged people to put their glass bottles in there as well, because they can divide them up once they get to the warehouse where it’s done. So it could be that we get another green bin. So fundamentally, what’s it worth? What’s the deal worth Ian?
IAN EDSER: What, in relation to the performance of the contract?
ANDY BURROWS: Over 23 years what’s it worth?
IAN EDSER: What the authority put forward was an affordability envelope of round about £9.7 million. And what we’;re doing at the moment is working with the authority on the finer points of the contract in respect of setting that figure.
ANDY BURROWS: £9.7 million.
IAN EDSER: £9.7 million.
ANDY BURROWS: And again, just so I’m clear, do you have to pay that?
IAN EDSER: No. That’s what the authority will pay us for delivering the services.
ANDY BURROWS: So they’ll pay you £9.7 million over the next 23 years.
IAN EDSER: That’s per annum.
ANDY BURROWS: That’s per annum?
IAN EDSER: That’s for delivering the full suite of services.
ANDY BURROWS: Right. So roughly £10 million. Does it go up and down or anything over the next 23 years?
IAN EDSER: What it is is that’s what the authority’s put forward as its affordability envelope. That’s what they said that’s what current services are. We’ve got to challenge against that, to deliver our services below that figure.
ANDY BURROWS: Right. So you’ve got to come in below that.
IAN EDSER: That’s it. And that’s where the joint working on long-term improvement and investment comes in with the authority to actually develop.
ANDY BURROWS: You’re going to take all the staff? You’re going to take all the binmen?
IAN EDSER: All the staff are transferring, and we’re very committed to providing sustainable jobs for local people. That was one of our key issues in respect of this.
ANDY BURROWS: Over the next ten years though, sorry, the next 23 years, you can’t guarantee their jobs for that period of time though, can you surely?
IAN EDSER: What I’m saying is that over time, it’s natural that there’ll be change, and things will adapt, and we’ll work with the Council and the workforce in respect of that. 23 years as you say is a very long time. The way service is delivered, the way that issues come up, national requirements, local requirements, will change and develop. And the contract that the authority’s put forward is very carefully written in order to enable us and them to actually develop and review that contract.
ANDY BURROWS: There’s a get-out after nine years, is that right?
IAN EDSER: There’a a break clause at nine years, that the authority’s put in. But within the actual contract there’s opportunities to actually review the performance, set very stringent targets and objectives.
ANDY BURROWS; Just finally, how many staff are we talking about that will transfer to you?
IAN EDSER: Roughly 600 staff are going to transfer across.
ANDY BURROWS: 600 staff. And that includes everyone from the bin men to the parks people.
IAN EDSER: Absolutely.
ANDY BURROWS: I was talking to a guy the other day looking after pitches in Peterborough, or a couple of them. I know he’s going over to you as well.
IAN EDSER: That;’s right. And what we’re looking at as well as part of that is a training and dvelopment programme, and a commitment within our submission was around graduates and apprentices, which is quite often an issue that gets missed.
ANDY BURROWS: Well it’s been a really interesting few minutes to find out exactly how these things work. Thank you very much. That was Ian Edser from Enterprise Managed Services, which is going to take over the running of the bins, effectively, the bin collections, street cleaning in Peterborough, and also the city’s green space, everything from the parks to football pitches and things like that.