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Short term success sacrificed for the long term

Short term success could have been sacrificed for long term stability as one local authority faces up to a possible four months of disruptions to waste services.

South Bedfordshire District Council (SBDC) recently handed a 12 year, £40 million waste contract to the Verdant Group. But while that deal does not come into effect until the new year, the usually high-performing council has seen its standards slip.

In a recently published Executive Committee report entitled Managing Our Performance, levels for household waste recycling, waste collections, the removal of abandoned vehicles and general street cleanliness all dropped, missing targets during the last quarter.

SBDC interim communications manager Peter Giesinger said: Two months ago, we announced the contract with the Verdant Group, but this wont come into effect until March or April of next year. As we gear up for the change, there has certainly been some impact on services, but these are points we are looking at closely.

We are aware of there being problems and are looking at steps to minimise these and all we can do is ensure the current contractor maintains its standards.

Averages of 70% of targets have been hit over the past year, and while that has dropped to 30% in the last quarter, the council suggests that this is merely a short-term effect of the major decision it has made.

It says the contract with the Verdant Group will give it the maximum potential to increase recycling rates in future years. SBDC currently returns a level of 30%, and hopes the deal will see further increases

However, the current situation is seen as something which the portfolio holder and director need to monitor.

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