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Veolia and Sheffield council could seek arbitration

Sheffield City Council’s talks with Veolia Environmental over cost savings on its waste management contract could have to go to independent arbitration.

The council has been in negotiations with the firm to try to shave off some of the cost of its £26 million public private partnership contract with Veolia, to help deal with the squeeze of budget cuts.

The negotiations are intended to be a pilot study to inform a guide to be complied by Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs on how councils can make savings on waste contracts, as part of a wider government drive to take costs out of private finance initiatives.

However, discussions between Sheffield City Council and Veolia Environmental have not been straightforward, as MRW revealed last month, indicating that it has been difficult to find a joint direction.

Now, the possibility of independent arbitration on the matter has surfaced. Sheffield City Council cabinet member for the environment Councillor Jack Scott, said that the council has continued to try and reach agreement with Veolia on the ongoing financial saving for alternate weekly black bin collections.

He said: “Clearly, with the massive cuts in public spending brought by the government it is in our interest to make sure we maximise this saving so that we can invest in other front line services for the people of Sheffield.

“If we cannot reach agreement then we will use the mechanisms in the contract between us to resolve the issue, which is an independent arbitration process.”

A Veolia Environmental spokesperson said that it agreed with the council that if a satisfactory outcome for both parties cannot be reached, the issue will be best resolved through an independent arbitration process.

Veolia added that this would not impact on the delivery of its services.

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