Bristol marketing firm paid £62k to tell Hull residents about bin collections
A DECISION to spend almost £62,000 on hiring a Bristol marketing company to tell people in Hull how to empty their wheelie bins has been labelled "insulting".
The move by Hull City Council to award a contract to Resources Futures Ltd comes ahead of a switch to fortnightly black bin collections in the city.
Main household rubbish bins are currently emptied every week.
But that will change from April 1 when a new fortnightly collection rota is being introduced by the council.
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The switch will save the council about £1m a year, with fewer staff needed to work on the bin rounds.
But the move to spend almost £62,000 commissioning a company based 198 miles from Hull to come up with a promotional campaign about the issue has angered opposition Liberal Democrats.
It was confirmed last week in a decision record signed off by Labour council leader Steve Brady.
The decision came just days after the council's cabinet agreed new procurement policies aimed at helping local firms compete for more contracts issued by the authority.
It also coincided with Labour unveiling budget proposals for the coming year featuring sweeping cuts to services and jobs at the authority.
Lib Dem deputy leader Councillor Mike Ross said he was concerned Labour had chosen not to use the council's own resources to carry out the promotional campaign.
As a result, he claimed the authority had been left with a more costly bill than was really necessary
"Wasting money like this is an insult to all those residents who were told the council couldn't afford to collect their bin every week," he said.
"This is at the same time as they are talking about cancelling home-to-school transport and hiking council tax for the lowest-paid workers in Hull.
"Labour are making cuts to local services left, right and centre, yet they are happy to spend £62,000 on consultants telling people their bins won't get picked up anymore."
Cllr Ross said recent spending on consultants from corporate finance experts Deloitte to help oversee the reorganisation of so-called "back office" jobs at the council was already expected to top £1m.
"This is yet another slap in the face for Hull's council tax payers," he said.
A report released with the decision record, which was also signed off by the council's head of streetscene Andy Burton, says: "The move to fortnightly collections is an emotive issue for staff due to job losses and therefore the waste advisor roles need to be handled carefully."
The report says the Bristol firm was chosen "after an appropriate procurement process" in which it has submitted "the most economically advantageous offer to the council".
On its website, the company says it has a proven track record in planning and delivering communications campaigns on waste issues around the country.