SWP and Suez praise tender process

Consultancy firm Eunomia has released a report looking at the recent procurement undertaken by the Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP), providing insight into what “made the tender a success”.

The document – called ‘procurement in times of change’ – focused on SWP’s efforts to find a new contractor for their household waste collection service – which was eventually awarded to Suez Recycling and Recovery UK.

The report will be the focus of a Webinar on Monday, November 18, which will look to guide councils on procurement ‘in times of change’

The procurement required the maintenance of Somerset’s kerbside sort system and a phased move to three weekly residual collections (see letsrecycle.com story).

This tender process will be at the centre of a webinar on Monday, November 18, which will aim to guide local authorities on procurement in times of change. More details of how you can listen can be found here.

The webinar will be hosted by Dr Adam Read, external affairs director at SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, Mickey Green, managing director of Somerset Waste Partnership, and, Andy Grant from Eunomia.

Both SWP and Suez agreed that the process behind the contract was “particularly effective” and could showcase how local authorities can procure new services through periods of transition.

The maintenance of competition between bidders despite a quick timeline and the success in managing uncertainty amid movement in material prices were praised by both parties.

Mickey Green, SWP’s managing director, said: “The process worked well and delivered its objectives – environmentally, financially, and in terms of risk management, customer service and social value.

“We were clear about our vision and our areas of expertise, but also clear about where we could benefit from help. We improved our service by harnessing insights from the market, which we couldn’t have done without buying in technical and commercial know-how.”

SWP’s procurement strategy was developed in 2017, informed by soft market testing and trialling of potential new service models since 2014.

(l-r) Steve Holgate, SUEZ director of municipal services and Mickey Green, SWP managing director

Previously SWP’s collections had been contracted to Kier, but after discussions it was mutually agreed by both parties to look for a new partner to provide the service.

Despite the success of the procurement, SWP did highlight environmental targets as an area where the partnership could risk missing its goals. It noted that this was a particular concern if local decision making on frequency of collections is taken away from local authorities – whether through legislation or financial changes that result from Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

“Now, more than ever, authorities that are tendering for waste collection services have to grapple with a lot of unknowns”

Andy Grant, Eunomia

Suez praised SWP’s risk management. It commented that extensive discussions and negotiations throughout the process reduced risk to all bidders and itself as the eventual contractor – this meant that risk buffers did not need to be added on to the cost of the services and meant the best possible price could be offered to SWP.

Andy Grant, Eunomia’s technical director for local government advised SWP through the process.

He explained: “Now, more than ever, authorities that are tendering for waste collection services have to grapple with a lot of unknowns. Likely new targets, the potential impact of deposit refunds and extended producer responsibility, and the fluctuating value of recyclable material all affect the current and future commercial balance of a contract.

“Working with SWP, we’ve managed to focus bidders’ creativity on the issues that really mattered and produce a solution that manages risk without undue cost.”