Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: Yes
The Cabinet considered a report which proposed new contract arrangements with LA Support Limited (formerly Kingdom Services Group Limited) that would see a new agreed financial split between it and the Council and expand the current Litter and Dog Fouling Enforcement Scheme for a further 2 years from 25th January 2020 to include a range of other offences, including Littering from Vehicles, Commercial (Trade) Waste offences, Fly Posting, Graffiti and Public Space Protection Order breaches. The background to the existing contract, which had been introduced in 2016 for a trial period, following public consultation in 2015 and extensive public support, had been awarded for a 3 year period beginning in January 2017. The current contract had proved to be very effective in dealing with littering and from 25th January 2016 until 31st August 2019 11,435 fixed penalty notices (FPN’s) had been issued with a payment rate of 72%. The litter FPN’s were issued at £75 and £50 for dog fouling, which was at the lower end of the spectrum where fines were issued by local authorities. £42 of each litter FPN was retained by LA Support Limited to fund the Enforcement Officers and £33 retained by the Council. So far the Council had paid LA Support Limited £466,450 and collected £602,680 realising an income of £136,230. The Council also took legal action against offenders who did not pay the FPN and had been awarded court costs of £50,980 against expenditure of £25,100.
The terms of the existing contract with LA Support Limited contained a provision for the contract to be extended by a further two years and for the addition of the additional offences and the contractor was keen to broaden the pool of offences. Officers had examined the experience of other authorities where a wider range of offences were enforced and concluded that the enforcement delivered positive results. The proposed financial split of 70:30 on all Fixed Penalty Charges (FPN’s) that had been paid by offenders would deliver a projected annual income to the Council of £133,995 which could be reinvested to support the Council’s corporate priorities and keep the borough clean and tidy. These extended activities would complement the Council’s existing enforcement activities on such matters as fly tipping and fly posting and it made sense to use the Enforcement Officers’ ‘eyes on the ground’ to help to take action on these matters.
The Cabinet noted that there had been considerable discussion of this item by the Cabinet Advisory Panel and noted the views expressed by Members at that meeting. The Chairman stressed that it was important to consider whether it was right to fine people who dropped litter and whether LA Support Limited were enforcing the existing offences reasonably. He felt that the purpose of the activity was to reduce incidents of littering and that the virtual absence of any repeat offending demonstrated that enforcement did work and, importantly, that it educated and deterred people from re-offending. He felt that LA Support Limited was operating to the standard stipulated by the Council and was doing so in a fair and reasonable manner. He also felt that, although the Council was aware of a small amount of criticism, particularly from those who had received a penalty, the majority of residents supported the enforcement activity and recognised that the purpose was to deliver a cleaner and sustainable local environment. He had met with two Members of the Cabinet Advisory Panel to discuss their concerns relating to the recommended contract extension and had had a positive meeting. Whilst it was true that a large proportion of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN’s) related to dropped cigarette butts this was because the Enforcement Officers could only enforce the activities that they had observed and this was the prevalent offence. In terms of the way that the report and contract had been originally framed he felt that greater emphasis could have been placed on the environmental deliverables rather on gross income as the purpose of the enforcement activity was to change behaviours rather than to generate income and that any new future contract should focus on ethical and environmental justifications. Given that the Council had created a Working Group on Climate Change the Chairman suggested that it might be appropriate to use part of the Council’s share of the money derived from enforcement to fund sustainable projects identified by the Working Group. This view was supported by other Members of the Cabinet. It was also noted that the extension of the range of offences would provide more effective enforcement powers to deal with dumped commercial waste and fly posting.
1. That the extension of the existing LA Support Limited contract for a further two years period from 25th January 2020 to January 2022 be approved;
2. That an additional range of offences be included in the contract, as detailed in Appendix A to the report; and
3. That the revised financial split proposal, as detailed in paragraph 6.3 of the report, be approved.
Publication date: 11/11/2019
Date of decision: 31/10/2019
Decided at meeting: 31/10/2019 - Cabinet
Effective from: 01/11/2019