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Feature: Prepare for success

Waste management is one of the most dynamic sectors in local government today. It has never been more exciting to be involved in waste — whether you are in local government or the private sector, everyone is looking for the new technologies and the holy grail to target success.

Get it right and you’re laughing. But the journey to get there is long and arduous, and there is strong argument to suggest that if you have started now to meet your targets in 2010 and 2013, you’re already too late. Preparation is king. Local authorities must know early on what it is they want from the process and must embrace partnership. Partnerships are built on openness, trust and understanding, which are essential to making new technologies achievable and successful.

New EU tender rules actively promote pre-consultation and it will probably be the best time you spend. It offers an opportunity to sell yourself as a good partner, to make sure the market is able and willing to deliver your aspirations, to discuss and iron out key areas including your procurement method, proposed timetable and, most importantly, to talk about the potential hurdles and risks.

These are six key areas to consider when making the move to a new technology

1 Make sure you have good and dedicated team to
take the process forward.

2 Know what you don’t want as well as what you do want, and how you are going to achieve it.

3 Be open and clear to all your partners and be visible and accessible.

4 Do your homework before you start. Preplanning
is essential and invariably saves time in the long run.

5 Consider hurdles, barriers and risks early. Try to mitigate and remove them where possible and be realistic about what you want — don’t expect to push risks on to others that you would not be prepared to accept yourself. A big hurdle for any local authority can be cost. You need to make sure that you have finances in place to carry out the procurement process and to operate the contract.

6 Be ready — adopt early the precautionary ‘what if’principle and have an exit strategy available at every corner.

Steve Burdis, waste management officer, Shropshire County Council and the Shropshire Waste Partnership, will be speaking at MRW’s Alternative Waste Treatment Technologies conference. The event takes place on March 30 at the Ibis Hotel, London. For more information, visit

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