Councillors vexed as Derbyshire Dales gives more cash to corporate giant Serco for bin collection service
Derbyshire Dales District Council has handed over more money to its bin collection contractor despite the company’s profits soaring during lockdown.
Outsourcing giant Serco has run bin collections in the district since 2012. A new eight-year contract began on August 2 at a cost of £3.1million a year, a £1m increase.
At a specially convened meeting on Wednesday, August 12, councillors debated a request from Serco for more money to help cover costs caused by the pandemic.
Serco sought an extra £101,185 to get through the next six months, as it expects to spend £300,000 hiring temporary collection vehicles due to manufacturing delays on a new £3.6m fleet being paid for by the council.
The council had already given the firm £250,000 extra to keep collections going through lockdown – even though the garden waste service stopped for four months.
Last week, the company announced its trading profit had risen to £77.6m, more than double the council’s entire annual budget.
During the meeting, Conservative Councillor Chris Furness said: “I was sympathetic with Serco when they said the last contract was unprofitable for them but now they ask for even more.
“Serco’s revenue is £1.8billion, up 24 per cent, trading profit is up 53 per cent. It is extremely profitable. Waiving this £101,185 wouldn’t have made the slightest blip in their accounts.”
Coun Steve Flitter, Liberal Democrat, said: “I am very frustrated with this whole process, it is unnecessary. Serco nationally could absorb this cost and yet we are still asked to contribute this amount of money.”
Coun Peter Slack, Labour, said: “I am disappointed. Serco’s finances are very, very healthy. I will thank the workforce but I will not thank the management.”
Despite these protests, council officers advised that the additional costs were in keeping with the contract, and leader Garry Purdy said the decision was to ensure trust between the two parties.
A Serco spokesperson said: “We cannot expect our work for other public sector customers, in the UK or elsewhere, to effectively cross-subsidise our work with another customer.”