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Council mulls own company to replace Serco

Canterbury City Council is set to establish its own company for refuse collection after expressing dissatisfaction with current contractor Serco.

Serco’s contract, which also covers street cleansing, ends in January 2021.

A report to the council said a local authority company would be “entirely controlled by the council and closely resembles an in-house service”, allowing changes to be implemented more easily than under a private sector operator.

But it admitted that having a council company was more of a financial risk than using a contractor because the council lacked the expertise to run such a venture and would have to buy this in.

But the report urged councillors to consider setting up the company – or else procure the service jointly with another authority – “on the basis that there have been performance issues with Serco through the life of the current contract”.

Council leader Simon Cook said: “We have been providing bin collections and street cleaning via a contractor for well over 20 years so, if the committee decides to move to a trading company, it would be a huge change for us.

“With waste in particular, there are a number of changes to national legislation likely to be coming our way in the years ahead, so it is vital we are in the best possible position to deal with them.”

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