Councillors on a Task and Finish Group have recommended Wrexham Council exercise a three month termination clause to stop Kingdom enforcement operating for them.
Yesterday we reported that we had spotted Wrexham Council were looking at creating a business plan to put before Councillors to help decide if an in-house enforcement team was the way forward, the first public indication such a move could be afoot.
Since then a further document has been published, this time being the more comprehensive report of the Environmental Enforcement Task & Finish Group, which is recommending to the Homes and Environment Scrutiny Committee that Kingdom are given the boot.
The recommendations to emerge are:
Three reasons for the above are given, including concerns that the contract has not had the expected impact, a primary aim in reducing the incidence of dog fouling was not met and a “opportunity to explore the provision of this service on a collaborative basis with other North Wales Councils who are currently considering this approach to service provision”.
Later in the report the Group gives their overall conclusions: “The Group notes that the current contract is due to end in May 2019 and recommends that this contract not be renewed.
“In line with the provisions of the contract it recommends that the current agreement for Environmental Enforcement with Kingdom be terminated in accordance with the 3 months’ notice period specified within.”
If the recommendation is taken up and put forward by the Scrutiny Committee, and then adopted further, Wrexham Council could have to find another enforcement method.
The provision of a service in-house to provide environmental enforcement has been provisionally costed at between £200k – £300k using council figures.
If the Kingdom contract is terminated councillors are being told there will be a ‘significant period of time where a minimal enforcement service will be available’, and until new arrangements are in place the work will be completed utilising the existing enforcement team.
This means “there is a very limited resource to undertake littering and dog fouling and this will also have an impact on existing parking and fly tipping enforcement.”
As we noted yesterday, Wrexham Council have done the job in house before however only 43 fines were issued by the council in 2015-2016, the period before outsourcing. Back in 2016 we wrote, “We asked if that meant Wrexham Council were not doing the best job in the first place, with Lead Member David A Bithell ‘holding his hands up’ saying it was ‘absolutely right’.”
More recently Cllr David A Bithell, has consistently pointed back to a previously issued statement over Kingdom that spoke of the work by the Task and Finish group that noted “… everyone should be assured we will consider their recommendations.”
You can view the history of Kingdom in Wrexham here…