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Councils to agree £250m waste services contract behind closed doors

PUBLISHED: 14:06 06 December 2019 | UPDATED: 17:27 06 December 2019

A meeting held at Breckland Council's office is set to decide who will be awarded a £250m waste services contract. Picture: Ian Burt

A meeting held at Breckland Council's office is set to decide who will be awarded a £250m waste services contract. Picture: Ian Burt

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Three Norfolk councils are today set to agree a £250m waste services contract in meetings held behind closed doors.

Breckland Council (BC), North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) and King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council (KLWNBC) all agreed to pursue a joint waste services contract in 2017.

And in January this year the three authorities signed up to a document making them jointly contractually obligated to complete the bidding process.

But at meetings held in Dereham, Cromer and King's Lynn councillors will decide who will win the contract from two rival bidders - while keeping the exact details of the bids a secret from the public.

At an overview and scrutiny meeting in Dereham, Rob Walker, executive director of place, told councillors a municipal waste contract for Norfolk had been an idea for a long time.

"We've not brought the county of Norfolk together but we've brought a large part of the west of the county together," he said.

The councils have received bids from two companies to provide the services, which will include waste collection, recycling collection, grounds maintenance services and street cleaning services.

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The contract, worth £250m, will replace Breckland council's existing contract with Serco, which expires in April 2021.

But the new contract will come into force in North Norfolk in April next year, as the council's existing waste contract expires earlier.

Mr Walker said the councils were on a tight deadline to approve or reject the bids because the figures submitted to the councils would be out of date within a month.

Officers have spent two weeks scrutinising the contracts.

Mr Walker added: "We need to make a decision on the contract before the offer that's been to the suppliers runs out, so we have certainty over the final amounts.

"That's principally the reason it's such a quick decision, given that it's been a two-year process."

Councillors voted unanimously - with one abstention - to exclude the public from the meeting, ahead of discussing the details of the waste contract.

Scrutiny committee chairman Rhodri Oliver said: "This is a multi-million-pound contract.

"If I felt there was any risk to the council's procurement process I would think it practical to support the exclusion."

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