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Almost £700,000 Dorset Waste Partnership overspend

The Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) is still almost £700,000 over budget months after it took special measures to rein in spending, according to a report.

The partnership, which combines services for seven councils across the county, has been battling overspending problems which totalled £2.8m for the last financial year.

The latest report, to be put to Dorset County Council on Monday, states that the partnership is expected to post a £686,000 overspend for the financial year 2015/16. But the new figure is lower than the £911,000 total which was predicted earlier in the year.

A spokesperson for DWP confirmed that the partnership is still working on the remaining actions that were put forward as part of consultant WYG’s 37-point action plan to remedy issues in the business.

The spokesperson said: “WYG’s role has finished. However we have one consultant still working with us independently on outstanding items such as fleet management and optimisation for one more month. We are reporting the position we are in as frequently as possible to the councils involved.”

The DWP confirmed that it is looking to appoint a new interim director while an investigation into previous manager Steve Burdis is completed. Burdis was suspended in March pending an independent investigation into the management of the body, which is due to submit its report in the coming weeks.

Former interim director Nigel Mattravers left his role before the conclusion of his six-month contract for a new job in Hong Kong.

The DWP attributed part of the latest overspend to fluctuations in the recyclates market, which has hit its budget. The spokesperson added: “We are working on the things we can control, and we do manage our contracts very efficiently and get good money on those contracts.”

Issues revolving around lax financial controls led to Dorset council picking up a £1.8m bill from overspending earlier this year, with the other six councils facing a six-figure hole in their budgets to bail out the troubled partnership.

Mike Harries, Dorset director of environment and economy and chair of the DWP management board, said: “We are closely monitoring the DWP’s budget situation. We are working extremely hard to reduce the overspend further over the coming months.”

DWP joint committee chair Anthony Alford said: “We are also seeing big savings with much less waste going to landfill as a result of the new collection service and prudent management of our contracts.

“Partner councils are carefully considering the options for how we can deliver waste services more efficiently into the future in what are increasingly challenging conditions for local government and waste management nationally.”

WYG will report its recommendations to the committee on Monday, include changing the type of collection vehicles in some areas and collecting glass differently from hard-to-reach properties.

It also advised that “no economies would be gained by outsourcing the waste collection and street cleaning service” and that the DWP should not look at potential outsourcing before 2017, in line with changes to waste disposal contracts.

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