Both companies passed through the South London Waste Partnership's 18-month competitive tender procurement process an emerged as the two recommended 'Preferred Bidders' for the contracts.
Veolia is bidding to provide a harmonised waste collection, street cleaning and winter gritting service across the four boroughs.
The Landscape Group, the horticultural, landscaping and grounds maintenance specialist, is seeking to win a contract for parks, cemeteries and grounds maintenance services in Merton and Sutton.
The eight-year contracts are forecast to save the four boroughs well in excess of the £30 million savings target that was set at the start of the procurement process.
Elected Members of the Partnership's Joint Waste Committee will meet on 7 June 2016 to review the outcome of the procurement process. They will be asked to endorse the Preferred Bidder recommendations before they are put before relevant committees on each of the four Partner boroughs. The borough committees will consider the recommendations at meetings during June and July, with the final one being Croydon Council’s Cabinet Committee on 11 July 2016.
Preferred Bidder status will only be confirmed if all the relevant committees agree the recommendations. At that point the procurement process would enter a four-month ‘Fine Tuning’ stage, where finer details of the bidders’ proposed solutions are agreed.
Councillor Stuart Collins, Chair of the South London Waste Partnership Joint Committee, said: "The four boroughs will spend a combined £38 million on delivering waste collection, street cleaning, winter gritting, parks and cemeteries maintenance services this year. We identified that by working together and harmonising services across the region we could all make significant savings and deliver high quality services that local people value.
"A robust procurement process started in early 2015 using a ‘competitive dialogue’ method of engaging with bidders, to ensure the very best deal for local people. Today the council officers involved in running that procurement have announced the two bidders that have emerged from the process as their recommended ‘Preferred Bidders’. I look forward to reviewing the way the procurement has been run, and deciding whether or not to endorse the outcome of the process, when I meet with my fellow Committee Members on 7 June."
Flexibility and local sovereignty are key features of the new contracts said the companies. The four boroughs all have the ability to specify different start dates for different elements of the new contracts. If contracts are awarded, the proposed timetable would see the new recycling and waste collection service roll-out across Sutton in April 2017, Croydon and Merton in October 2018 and Kingston in 2022. These are indicative dates and are subject to individual borough decision-making bodies’ approval.
This flexibility extends to the parks, cemeteries and grounds maintenance service contract. While the new contract would go live in Merton and Sutton in February 2017 (in time for the start of next year’s growing season), Croydon and Kingston would be able to retain their existing contractual arrangements and may opt to join the new contract when those arrangements end.
The four-borough collection service being proposed by Veolia would mirror the service they already operate in Kingston and Croydon, along with other London boroughs such as Bromley and Brent. This would include a separate weekly collection of food waste, an alternate weekly collection of dry recycling (paper and card one week; tins, plastics and glass the next) and a fortnightly collection of residual (non-recyclable) waste.
The companies said that introducing these changes would not only save money but also reduce waste production and increase recycling rates across the Partnership region, "helping the four boroughs maintain their positions as some of the best recycling boroughs in London".
A new online booking and payment facility for sports pitches would be introduced and ‘Friends of Parks’ groups could play a key role in monitoring the performance of the contractor.
Collins added: "When you look at the very substantial savings we can achieve - many tens of millions of pounds over the next eight years - set against the incredibly difficult decisions we are all having to make about which services to reduce or stop providing all together, I believe that most local people will agree that making these changes is the right thing to do. Local residents can rest assured that they will receive environmental services of the very highest quality, but at a greatly reduced cost to the public purse."