Hull Labour councillor defends awarding bin promotion contract to Bristol firm
A DECISION to award a Bristol marketing company a £62,000 council contract to tell people in Hull how to empty their bins has been defended by a senior Labour politician.
Opposition Liberal Democrats at the Guildhall have labelled the move "insulting".
Deputy Lib Dem leader Councillor Mike Ross also questioned why the work could not be done by the authority's own staff.
But Councillor Martin Mancey, cabinet portfolio holder for the environment, said the same company had twice been awarded contracts by the previous Lib Dem administration to carry out similar promotional campaigns involving recycling issues.
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He also claimed the current contract with waste management consult- ants Resources Future Ltd would create temporary jobs for local people.
Cllr Mancey said: "It really is very hypocritical for the Liberal Democrats to be criticising this contract when they spent a total of £260,000 on using the same company for two separate campaigns when they were in charge of the council."
The current contract has been awarded to coincide with the run-up to April when main household bin collections in Hull are due to switch from weekly to fortnightly.
The firm is expected to employ about 20 people to visit about 50,000 households over a six-week period.
They will give people advice and information about different recycling options.
Cllr Mancey said: "They will be targeting areas of the city with low recycling rates, knocking on doors to educate, inform and encourage people to ensure they do recycle as much as possible to limit the amount of waste going into the black bin.
"The cost of that is £62,000 but if it results in just a 5 per cent increase in recycling across the city, we will have saved £300,000 in landfill tax in a year.
"I see it as a good investment that will hopefully produce a good return."
Cllr Mancey said the decision to use the same firm again was also a reflection of its particular skills in running waste-related publicity campaigns.
"A number of firms were involved in the tendering process but this particular company was chosen on the basis of both price and quality.
"They have the resources to draw on to send out a team of 20 people to knock on doors. They can also provide full training on things such as health and safety and communication skills because some of them will be going into potentially hostile situations.
"The reality of the situation is that, as a council, we simply don't have those resources to draw on both in terms of expertise or numbers."
Speaking at a council scrutiny meeting, Cllr Mancey said he could not yet give a figure for the number of expected job losses in the council's waste department as a result of the switch to fortnightly collections. The council expects to save £1m a year from the move.