Agenda item

Contracts Update

Report attached


The Joint Executive Committee received a report on the current position regarding the Residual Waste Treatment Contract and other contracts and activities managed by the Partnership.


The joint partnership team, continues to undertake several waste management functions on behalf of the partner authorities, including reviewing and verifying monthly contract reports, which detail materials processed and service issues. Once approved, invoices are processed and, where appropriate, apportioned between partner authorities within contractual timescales.


This is enabling, amongst other things, a proactive and timely approach to management of the RWTC which is operated under strict timescales. Similar benefits are also afforded to the procurement and management of other ancillary contracts, such as MRF, HWRC, and green waste composting.


Appendix A which was appended to the main report highlighted the latest 2019/20 contact year performance. During recent months, service availability has continued to be strong with plant availability 99.23% and turbine availability 98.80%.


The Joint Committee were also advised that the exercise to replace the Debt Service Reserve Account (DSRA) with a contingent Debt Service Reserve Facility (DSRF), is still progressing.


The reduction to the Unitary Charge should generate revenue savings for each partner authority and it is projected that the joint benefit will be £0.24m per annum and £4.8m over the remainder of the contract. It is hoped the exercise will be finalised this financial year.


The Joint Committee were advised that the Joint Insurance Cost Reports are provided by STWER every two years and they set out the mechanism for the insurance review procedure and sharing of insurance cost differentials. They illustrate the state of the insurance market during the term and any resulting increase or benefit from relevant insurance costs are shared between STWER and STWWMP.


The two outstanding JICRs have now been settled and the partner authorities have received a joint credit of £463,478. This was primarily due to the differences in the premiums and the PFI Insurance Market and Power and Engineering Insurance Markets having reduced rates consistently for the five years since the bid date base cost was established on 11 August 2010.


In the longer term, the position remains unclear as the exercise is linked to the base cost assumptions and any movements in the state of the insurance market in relation to our technology.


The Joint Committee were also advised that all three of the Waste Transfer Stations (WTS) have continued to remain available, with all sites accepting STWWMP contract waste without significant issues. Recycling activities are ongoing at each site, which includes the segregation of materials, such as street sweeping, wood and scrap metals.


Routine maintenance of buildings, plant and control systems continue to be delivered as planned and no issues have been identified.


The Environment Agency (EA) inspected the Campground WTS on 29 August 2019. No issues were identified during the visit.

The Joint Committee were advised that the TWTC affords provision for SUEZ to help to improve local prosperity across the partnership area by promoting vacant posts within their facilities. The Economic Development Service at Gateshead Council continues to receive information on local vacancies, which are then cascaded to partner authorities for circulation to their client base. Local vacancies are also highlighted at the Jack Crawford House and Campground Community Liaison Groups to enable opportunities to be circulated across community contacts.


At present, 77% of post holders at the South Tyne and Wear waste transfer stations and working in the management and administration of the South Tyne and Wear RWTC are residents of the partnership area. Approximately 12% of post holders at the EfW facility are residents of the partnership area.


Interviews for the post of weighbridge operator at Campground WTS were held in August and an internal candidate - a South Tyneside Resident was appointed.


Two site operative positions at Middlefields became vacant in November 2019 and two South Tyneside residents were appointed as replacement post holders.


The current EfW Operations Manager has taken a 12-month promotion secondment as Plant Manager at the SUEZ Wilton EfW. The current Technical Plant Engineer commenced an 18-month secondment as replacement Operations Manager in October.


STWWMP remains committed to an ongoing programme of community education and engagement, managed by Groundwork North East & Cumbria (GNEC) at the visitor and education centre, the energy-from-waste facility, and through outreach activities held in local schools and community settings.

Between April and November 2019, 4,790 local residents, children and young people, and community group members took part in waste awareness events, activities and site visits.


The Joint Executive Committee were advised that the MRF contracts continue to be monitored closely by the joint partnership team. This includes processing payments, holding regular contract meetings and performance reviews, and Health & Safety site inspections at the various contractor facilities to ensure that recycling performance is maximised.


Appendix B appended to the main report highlighted the latest 2019/20 performance (April – November 2019) for the materials collected by each partner authority in the kerbside ‘blue bin’ recycling service. The results are broken down to demonstrate the paper collected separately in the inner box and the comingled materials collected in the main section of the blue bin.


The comingled recycling tonnages in each partner authority continue to fluctuate due to several different reasons, including the development of light weigh recyclable materials across the sector, householder participation and seasonal variations. However, paper tonnages collected separately in the inner caddy continue to fall year on year and is now around 11% of the overall tonnage collected by the three partner authorities.


Appendix B appended to the main report, also highlighted MRF recycling and recovery rates (for comingles materials only) since Quarter 1 2018/19. Recycling performance has generally remained at similar levels in each partner authority. Sunderland City Council continue to identify actions to help increase their recycling rates and reduce contamination rates, to bring these levels in line with Gateshead and South Tyneside.


The recycling trial that commenced in February 2019 on a single collection round in both Gateshead and South Tyneside is enabling around 2,400 households to recycle paper and cardboard materials together in a separate, additional, wheeled bin. Details of the tonnage of paper and cardboard (known as mixed fibre) that has been collected since the start of trial.


The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has undertaken an initial evaluation of the trial. The evaluation found that:


·         Following the implementation of the trial, almost all the fibre presented for collection (99%) is now contained in the separate fibre bin. This has enabled separately presented fibre levels to rise from an average 33.03 kg per household (paper only) to 82.35 kg per household (paper and card).

·         Presentation rates for the comingled DMR bins remained consistent both pre and post-trial implementation, but the separate fibre bins recorded

much higher levels of presentation when compared to the previous use of the inner caddy.

·         Before the trial, inner caddy presentation rates were 41-42% in Gateshead and 40% in South Tyneside, but this has now risen to presentation rates of 79% in Gateshead and 84% in South Tyneside for the new fibre bin.

·         Separating the recycling in this way protects the integrity of the fibre-based materials and improves its overall quality, which makes it more recyclable and therefore more commercially viable to the contractor because the contamination levels have been negligible.

·         Reduced contamination levels within the DMR presented in the existing blue bins and less than 1% of recycling related side waste (i.e. materials presented for collection next to the bin, not contained inside) has been reported in both Gateshead and South Tyneside.

·         Increased income levels that the councils receive from Palm for the fibre collected from the trial households

·         Consultation with residents in the trial area highlighted a positive response to the service change.


Although the trial is taking place in Gateshead and South Tyneside, the trial feedback and results will benefit all three partner authorities and will be used when evaluating future service delivery models.


The latest HWRC recycling performance for 2019/20, excluding inert material, such as rubble were tabled for information. The Joint Executive were advised that the partner authority HWRC contracts with SUEZ and Remondis are set to expire at the end of March 2020.


A joint procurement exercise if currently being undertaken and following the invitation to tender, submissions have been received and are currently being evaluated by the partner authorities. A decision is anticipated regarding appointment of the successful contractor in February 2020.


The Joint Executive Committee were also advised that the garden waste kerbside collection service resumed in all three partner authorities in April 2019. Contract management meetings continue to be held with service providers at the various facilities, which also include Health & Safety site inspections.


The current contracts were scheduled to end on 31 March 2020, but all three partner authorities have now agreed to extend the existing arrangements until 31 March 2022.


The Joint Executive Committee also received an update on the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Contract which was awarded to Valpak Limited in December 2019. The current framework contract commenced on 1 January 2020 for a period of 36 months, with an option to extend for a further 2 x 12 months.


The contract covers the following categories of WEEE:


·         Large Domestic Appliances (LDA);

·         Fridges and Freezers (to include commercial type and ammonia units);

·         Small Domestic Appliances (SDA);

·         Visual Display Equipment;

·         Fluorescent Lighting Tubes; and

·         Post-Consumer Batteries


STWWMP worked in partnership with Valpak, SUEZ and GNEC to submit two successful external applications for WEEE projects, which will be rolled out during 2020 and 2021.


The Distributor Takeback Scheme, through their Funding for Local Authority WEEE Projects, awarded £119,460 to deliver a multi-faceted reduce and reuse project. The project concentrates on the delivery of repair, reuse and repurposing workshops, amnesty events and swap shops for SDA, and where this is not possible, to divert the material for recycling.


Delivery of the project will be achieved through the employment of a full-time dedicated WEEE project officer, who will arrange, promote and run the events/activities throughout the partnership area. This will be supported by a part-time PAT certified electrician, who will be responsible for providing professional electrical electrician, who will be responsible for providing professional electrical services at repair and reuse workshops in addition to training volunteers to provide them with the skills and knowledge to undertake repairs and PAT testing.


In addition, the WEEE Fund for small e-waste kerbside investments awarded £59,923 to deliver a concentrated kerbside recycling scheme.


The project will be delivered through a full-time officer and its key focus will be the provision localised collection activities for SDA and batteries in concentrated areas where bags will be delivered along with instructions for residents to encourage them to clear out unwanted, old, and broken SDA and place them at the edge of their property for collection on a designated day.


RESOLVED -  That the Joint Executive Committee noted the contents of the report.

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