Shared procurement could save councils £70 million a year on wheelie bins and refuse trucks

31 March 2015

Councils in England could save millions by jointly buying wheelie bins and refuse trucks, according to a government study.

The Department for Communities and Local Government’s Household Waste Collection: Procurement Savings Opportunities report said local authorities could save £70 million every year through better procurement and standardised processes.

The report concluded that savings of up to 10 per cent on refuse trucks and 35 per cent on bins could be achieved through clearer specification and purchasing in larger volumes with other councils.

The study recommended local authorities needed to standardise and reduce variations in procurement, buy in higher volumes, share information and establish procurement partnerships. Procurement contracts should also include clauses that allow pricing to be disclosed.

The report highlighted the need to share commercial information within the public sector to allow benchmarks to be established. Information about the cost implications of non-standard specifications should be included in option appraisals, it said.

The report outlined options for single authority procurement, joint authority procurement and frameworks. It also highlighted barriers to cost effective procurement including uncertainty over funding, different waste collection regimes, and a lack of internal procurement expertise.

The government added it was funding a project where a group of councils will work together to explore how they can standardise their approach to digital waste services. The project will increase transparency and give councils greater flexibility to switch suppliers more easily at lower cost, the government said.

The councils working on the project are Adur and Worthing, Brentwood, Bristol City, Calderdale, Chelmsford and Luton.

Local government secretary Eric Pickles said: “For too long rubbish town hall procurement policies have wasted taxpayer’s money as councils have worked in isolation when they should have been working together to deliver a better deal for local taxpayers.”

He said councils should make savings through better procurement and new technology, instead of introducing charges for the collection of garden rubbish.

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