Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) recently completed a successful tender for the council’s waste collection options, despite challenging circumstances. Our new report, written alongside SWP, provides insight into the process. The results of the report were presented by SWP and the winning bidders, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK (SUEZ), at a webinar on 18 November 2019.

The report, Procurement in Times of Change, explains the process SWP followed to procure a new contract to deliver new and improved waste and recycling services, manage risks (including uncertainties arising from the Resources and Waste Strategy) and achieve an affordable, high-quality outcome.

Offering insight into the journey SWP followed, the report includes the context of SWP’s history, performance, and objectives for the future, as well as highlighting the in-depth preparatory work they carried out ahead of going out to tender. Lessons learnt and feedback from all parties, including the winning bidder SUEZ Recycling & Recovery UK, are also captured.

Andy Grant, our Technical Director for Local Government, advised SWP through the process. He explained the issues that had needed to be addressed:

“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. I hope that through sharing what we’ve learnt, other local authorities will be better placed to navigate their own tender processes.”

SWP’s Managing Director Mickey Green 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.”

Commenting on the procurement process on behalf of the winning contractor, Dr Adam Read said:

“This has been one of the most effective procurements that SUEZ has been involved in, especially given the significant degree of uncertainty that all parties were facing from the outset.”