This is just rubbish!

23 Jan

Why are Edinburgh Councillors making decisions not to do things when if they’d been implemented they would have allowed significant cost savings to be achieved? By cost savings we are talking about £200M plus. Not a trifling sum by anyone’s standards.

Exhibit one – refuse and recycling collection and road cleaning and ground maintenance.

“The council spent two years investigating the possibility of contracting the job to a private company. Firm Enterprise had been chosen by officials to take control of recycling, bin collection, road cleaning and ground maintenance in Edinburgh for the next seven years. The council said it would save the local authority over £70m over that period. The council will now implement an in-house improvement plan for environment services.”

( The above is an extract from The Holyrood website). 

The preferred bidder has a significant track record of doing this for other large councils in England. They would also have simplified recycling collections by moving to a single large bin for recycling rather than the two box system in place presently. The wishes of council taxpayers haven’t been taken into account. A decision made based on protecting the current workforce, which, for the most part would have kept their jobs due to the TUPE rules. Lucky them.

Also bear in mind that there was more than one company tendering, all of who would have spent a lot of time and money going through the process. Those that reached the final selection would have spent even more. What a waste.

Just like buses which come along two at once, as far as Edinburgh Council is concerned, bad decisions seem to follow that trend also.

“Mitie has missed out on an £170 million facilities management contract with Edinburgh City Council, despite claims that the deal would have saved the council £115m.”

(The above and the following in italics and quotes are from Construction News.)

The vote went as follows – “Councillors at Edinburgh, run by a Liberal Democrat/SNP coalition, voted 31 to 23 to terminate the procurement process”.

We even get an explanation – “The joint Labour/SNP amendment highlighted the loss of public sector jobs and an adverse impact on the local economy.  It said the risk to local services, and local accountability was “too great” and the estimated level of savings are “unlikely to outweigh the dis-benefits.”

Dis-benefits? Are we having a stab at introducing a new word into the English language?

“According to the original officer’s report, outsourcing to Mitie would have created £51.5m of savings over seven years – £13.5m more than the internal improvement plan, which would save £38m.  It would have meant an extra £39m of revenue savings in the council’s 2011/12 revenue budget process.

That report also said there would have been a pipeline of business cases to develop the service and support property rationalisation, potentially making another £63.3m of efficiency savings. 

The report added that outsourcing would have brought 200 jobs to the city and £6m investment in schools, and was supported by an Ernst and Young report concluding there was “moderately low confidence” in the internal improvement plan”.

Once again the Council stopped the procurement process leaving the participant tenderers high and dry having spent a lot of time on money trying to win the contract in good faith.

Again the taxpayers wishes haven’t been taken into account. Again the existing workforce and local suppliers have been protected. Lucky them.

Bearing in mind that we’ve already had the Tram saga with a final bill of over £1 Billion. Then we have the property repair scam. It looks like the Councillors have money to burn. What will the next project be do you think? It’ll be along in a moment that’s for sure. It won’t be cheap that’s also for sure.

In both of the above cases the bids and their benefits were audited by one of the big four accounting firms who also know how to charge. They reported that the preferred bidders would indeed deliver as promised, were much cheaper than the councils existing service teams and also commented on the councils own attempts to reduce costs as being statistically unlikely.

Is there no come back for the council taxpayers? Is there no come back from the Scottish Government who provide s significant amount of the councils budget in the shape of granting?

Is there no compulsion on the council to accept the best value for money bid regardless if it’s in house or not?

I’m all for encouraging local councillors to question council officers to make sure that they are doing their jobs and their recommendations are sound. However, the decisions made here do not seem to be based on contractual issues they have been based on political posturing and more seriously protecting their workforce when so many of the people they represent do not have the same level of job protection and have suffered significantly.


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