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Lessons from a successful waste collection tender process through ESPO’s Framework 664

Lessons from a successful waste collection tender process through ESPO’s Framework 664

A supplier on ESPO’s Consultancy Services framework (664) worked with Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) to deliver an effective procurement process. Find out about the lessons learned from the successful waste collection tender process.

The requirement

Eunomia - a supplier on ESPO’s Framework 664 – worked with Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) to deliver an effective procurement process.
SWP had a vision to become an exemplar for how to manage waste as a resource, work with others and support residents to manage their household waste.
The partnership’s journey to a new service model started in 2014, with trials of several different service models providing strong evidence that the revised system, known as “Recycle More” would deliver significantly more recycling and customer satisfaction. Under Recycle More, residents would be able to recycle plastic pots, tubs and trays, food and beverage cartons, small electrical items and household batteries. This is in addition to what can already be recycled every week - food, paper, glass, cans, aerosols, plastic bottles, cardboard, foil, textiles and shoes.

A formal options appraisal in 2015 (undertaken by Eunomia) compared service models and helped the SWP ensure it understood what the environmental and financial benefits of Recycle More would be. During the 2016/17 financial year the Somerset Waste Board and every partner council then voted to implement this new service model.

The challenges

Despite having established a clear set of objectives with robust buy-in from members across the partnership, the procurement faced several important challenges that would need to be overcome in order to result in an effective competition and therefore maximise the chances of a successful outcome.

  The market:
SWP would be tendering at the same time as several other local authorities, and potential bidders’
resources would therefore be stretched. It was possible that some waste collectors would be unable to respond to all the tender processes and might pick and choose. 

In these circumstances, SWP needed to make sure that its collection contract was sufficiently attractive to make waste collectors wish to respond, while still ensuring that the partnership’s financial and service delivery requirements were met.
  The delivery need:
SWP was looking to procure a collection-only contract, rather than integrated collection and treatment. The specification had features – in particular, the kerbside sort collection model that was to be deployed and the use of three-weekly residual waste collections - that were only being delivered by a small number of contracted-out services.

SWP therefore needed to provide bidders with sufficient information and assurance to give them confidence about bidding for the work.
  The changing policy context:
It became clear during the procurement process that the government would announce important policy changes that would take effect during the lifetime of the contract. It was important to give bidders confidence that the partnership understood the changes and that its service requirements would not change dramatically as a result.

The procurement timetable and service specification needed to be mapped against the new resources and waste strategy, and planned consultations, to provide bidders with assurance that the procurement would not be adversely affected.

The solution

Through its preparatory actions and planning, SWP put in place the groundwork for a successful procurement. However, it was still necessary to design and implement the tender process, so as to secure the partnership’s requirements.

Put a strong team and decision-making structures in place

The need to work on a cross-partnership basis, whilst posing some unique challenges, strengthened the project overall. The large number of partners necessitated that clear structures were put in place, when in some single authority tenders it can be easy to assume that established decision-making structures will be adequate to reach conclusions at the necessary stages in the procurement. In SWP’s case, it was clear that:

  • The county council would act as the contracting and procuring authority
  • The services would need to be delivered at the district-level
  • The interests of a wide range of stakeholders would need to be taken into account


In preparation for a successful procurement, an authority should:


  Ensure they have the right skills in place at the outset.
Consider whether they need to buy in advice to make sure they have sufficient access to market knowledge to identify the likely key commercial issues - and do so before key decisions on procurement approach and timetable are decided upon.
  Work with members to develop a clear set of objectives at an early stage and ensure that buy-in is achieved and maintained.
Put in place decision-making structures that will allow for the procurement to evolve in the light of feedback from the market, while maintaining member support.

More on the lessons learned and the results from the tender process here.

For more information about ESPO's 664 framework please click here, or contact the Managing People and Professional Services team on:

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