The troubled Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) has identified areas where it could reduce its projected £900,000 overspend this year.
The partnership, a collaboration between seven Dorset councils, ran up a £2.8m deficit in the last financial year and in March suspended its director Steve Burdis, pending an investigation into the way the body was managed.
At its latest meeting, members of the DWP’s joint committee received a progress report from Nigel Mattravers, WYG director of waste and resource management, who has been brought in to act as an interim head.
“We’ve identified where there is a risk of about £900,000 to the budget as part of our monitoring process,” said Mattravers, left. “Historically, people were not monitoring it and wouldn’t know until too late. We have now got processes where financial risks can be identified early on and mitigated.”
Almost £400,000 of the projected overspend was blamed on poor prices in the secondary materials market.
Prior to the 2014-15 budget, the DWP was deriving a significant revenue stream from selling these materials at a profit. As prices fell, this became a cost of approximately £10 a tonne.
Mattravers said that since the initial £400,000 prediction, prices had moved up and, if sustained, the deficit should be reduced by £100,000.
In addition, he said that cuts in employee absenteeism will lower agency fees, while greater resident participation in the green waste service would make it more cost efficient.
“The budget had assumed that more people would take up the green waste service than they have done, but we have still got time [before the next budget] to go out and sell our services to more people,” he said.
The DWP is buying a new set of street cleaning vehicles to replace the ageing fleet that was inherited from the councils before they joined the partnership.
Mattravers said that despite earlier uneasiness from Weymouth & Portland Borough Council about its membership, it chose not to voice any concerns at the recent meeting.