Guidance issued to prevent criminals infiltrating waste tenders

28 September 2015

Procurement guidance aimed at helping prevent crime in the waste management sector in Scotland has been published.

Guidance on procuring waste services for public bodies and their contractors: Good practice guidance to prevent crime is published by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Zero Waste Scotland.

It aims to help tackle waste crime including fraudulent waste transfer notes, flytipping, unlicensed vehicles, unsuitable disposal of hazardous waste, theft of valuable material, breach of permits and licences for storage, disposal or burning of materials.

The document, mainly for public bodies but also for anyone involved in procuring waste services or bidding for tenders, highlights "red flags" that may indicate a risk of crime. It suggests wording that can be used in procurement documents, provides best practice checklists and advice on what to do if criminality is suspected.

The Serious Organised Crime Strategy, launched in June 2015, identified the waste industry as a target for organised crime groups in Scotland.

SEPA said that using the guidance could minimise the risk of a contract being awarded to a criminal or to an organisation that may allow waste to be passed on to criminals.

Calum MacDonald, chair of the Scottish government’s Environmental Crime Taskforce and SEPA executive director, said he wanted to make it difficult for organisations that did not respect environmental regulation or the law to operate in the waste sector.

“Through this guidance we aim to spread the message of the need to be aware of criminality in the waste sector so that it reaches public bodies, private businesses and the community at large,” he said. “We also aim to provide public bodies with the tools they need to design effective procurement processes that deliver the waste services they require while protecting as far as possible from the risk of awarding contracts to those engaged in crime.”

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said that waste crime frustrated efforts to work towards a more sustainable resource management system and a more circular economy.

“Waste crime prevents public bodies, particularly local authorities, from capitalising on the economic benefits of good resource management and hampers legitimate companies from carrying out their business."

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