Southend Council extends waste contract to 2024

Southend Council has bolstered its waste contract by £800,000 after delays in finding a new operator to run the service.

The contract with Veolia is due to end in October and the council has been left with no option but to extend it after opposition councillors demanded a “proper procurement process” to find a replacement.

It follows a long-running debate in Southend surrounding whether wheelie bins should be introduced and collections moved to bi-weekly.

Paul Collins, councillor for asset management and inward investment, said: “The current waste collection contract ends in October 2023 and it is proposed that an estimated sum of money is budgeted to extend current contract arrangements until such time that the new contract can start.

“With current inflation and other factors there might have to be further budget considerations to be made but we know how important it is, because residents, businesses and councillors have made their views very clear, that we get this new contract right, both in terms of value for money and for the environment.”

Previously the council discussed allowing Veolia to continue its contract, providing alternate week collections for waste and recycling and introducing wheelie bins.

However, councillors voted to put the contract out to tender and stated the preferred option would be for weekly collections to continue and for an increase in recycling rates.

Tony Cox, leader of the Conservative Group, said: “£800,000 for the waste contract is down to the bungled waste contract procurement as we don’t have a contractor in place when the current provider Veolia exit from their contract in October.”

The two-stage procurement process called for bidders to submit two priced outline proposals in late 2022 – one for a full weekly collection service and a second allowing bidders more flexibility in their proposal.

Cabinet will then decide on the service model required and frequency of collection ahead of the second stage of procurement.

This will need a more detailed proposal which will be evaluated ahead of the awarding of a contract in autumn 2023.

A new contract would start in May 2024.


Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter