Merton's Waste And Parks Could Be Managed By External Firm

Move being considered to save around £1m

Merton council is considering commissioning an external company to manage the borough's waste and parks services as part of a plan to save around £1m.

It is considering options around teaming up with Sutton, Kingston and Croydon councils to appoint an environmental services company to manage the waste and parks services from April 2017.

The proposal to investigate options will go ahead after the council's Cabinet meeting on Monday (November 10). The council says it faces making £32m in savings over the next four years.

But the Conservative opposition says the idea is "preposterous" and has called a public meeting for November 25 to discuss the future management of the borough's green spaces.

The options the council is considering for Merton's future waste and parks services will involve the South London Waste Partnership, which already involves Merton, Sutton, Kingston and Croydon working in partnership.

If the proposal goes ahead, the council says it will continue to have overall responsibility for the ongoing management of its waste services as well as its parks and green spaces.

It also says that no redundancies are expected, as staff will transfer to the new employer.

Merton Council cabinet member for environmental cleanliness and parking Councillor Judy Saunders said: "The council’s funding from central government has been reduced and we are facing £32m of cuts. As in previous years cabinet has agreed that children’s services and social services for older people should have less of a share of the cuts.

"The economies of scale available working with three other boroughs, means we can save at least £1m per year. This will help ensure we can continue to have weekly collections and a weekly street sweep despite government cuts to our funding. No redundancies are expected as staff will transfer to the new employer and we will be keeping them fully informed."

Commenting after last night's Cabinet meeting, Councillor David Dean, Conservative Environment Spokesman said: "The idea that the South London Waste Partnership can manage our parks is preposterous. The Partnership only has a legal remit for waste collection and processing and has no experience of park maintenance. Labour seem intent on their proposals without consulting all those who work so hard to maintain our precious green spaces."

A petition against the options being considered has been set up on this link.

November 21, 2014