In answer to a question from me this evening, East Cambs District Council has confirmed publicly that it will be setting up a second trading company in January.
The new company is being established specifically to take on the waste collection contract from Veolia next April.
The council had originally voted to hand the waste contract to its own in-house company (East Cambs Trading Company), which was set up by the council less than two years ago.
But the law states that it can only do this without putting the contract out to competitive tender if at least 80 per cent of the company’s work is done for the council. The existing trading company doesn’t meet that 80 per cent requirement, so handing it the waste contract would be illegal.
In order to ensure that there will be someone to collect the rubbish next April, the council is therefore having to do something. Its original idea was to restructure its existing trading company, probably by splitting it into two parts, and making sure that one of those parts met the 80 per cent requirement.
However, in answer to a question from me at the full council meeting tonight, which was answered not by the council’s political leadership but by the Chief Executive, it now appears that the council will be setting up a second company – purely to put right the mess it has made with awarding the waste contract to the first one.