Call to council leaders to make public dealings relating to waste contract.
The Birmingham Conservative group are urging the Labour administration to publish all documents relating to the Waste Disposal Contract after the council failed to re-procure the contract despite 25 years notice of its expiry. The call comes ahead of a ‘call-in’ this Thursday of the Labour run Cabinet’s decision to extend the current contract with Veolia for a further five years at additional cost to Birmingham tax-payers and in spite of repeated warnings that action needed to be taken to manage the end of the contract.
Councillor Ewan Mackey (Con, Sutton Roughley) has written to council officers and the Chair of the Scrutiny Committee with a list of documents deemed necessary to ensure effective learning and accountability. The list includes reports and minutes of the project board and briefings provided to Cabinet Members.
Cllr Mackey said: “For the Scrutiny Committee to be able to do its job effectively, we need access to all relevant information on the subject we are reviewing but the public also deserve to know how and why this was allowed to happen. With 25 years to plan for the end of one of the biggest contracts the council has, there really is no excuse to be in this position now.
“Whilst some of the information we have requested may have previously been commercially sensitive there is an overwhelming public interest in transparency that overrides this, particularly since what we are asking for relates to what should have happened in the last few months and years and not current negotiations.”
Councillor Meirion Jenkins (Con, Mere Green) added: “This is just the latest in a string of expensive failures by this Labour administration. Each time, the Leader Cllr Ian Ward promises us that this is a ‘turning point’ and that ‘lessons have been learnt’ but it keeps happening. I have continually raised my concerns with how Labour run procurement in Birmingham, particularly how they repeatedly leave it too late to carry out full procurement exercises, which ends up costing tax payers more and unfairly reduces opportunities for local and small businesses.
“If Ian Ward is serious about things being different going forward then he can demonstrate that by being fully transparent on what has happened in this instance so opposition and backbench councillors and the Birmingham public can see and understand what went on and exactly what has to change.”