In the face of a volatile waste and recycling market, with uncertainty over future legislative drivers, traditional long-term waste service contracts are beginning to look like a higher risk option to both contractor and client.
So is there a viable alternative to improve services that provides the flexibility to react to changing times?
Cheshire East is a unitary council serving 167,000 households in the east of the county. It has begun a process of restructuring through the development of alternative de- livery models as appropriate to each service area. To date the council has formed armslength companies, a charitable trust and outsourced services to meet the needs of different localities.
Through the arms-length companies model, Cheshire East aims to improve services and create efficiencies by developing a commercial approach to service areas under the Teckal status. In April 2014 the council formed Ansa Environmental Services, an arms-length company to run its waste management, fleet, street cleansing and parks operations. Ansa will assist the council in meeting its waste/energy strategy objectives.
The company will be responsible for full service delivery and contract procurement, alongside a programme of council investment in waste infrastructure.
The council is at the early stages of operating under a commissioning model, and is interested to discuss its approach and learn from others as it sets about this process of change.
Ralph Kemp is corporate manager commissioning, waste and environmental services at Cheshire East Council