Planning for the 3 stages of waste contract procurement

Planning for the 3 stages of waste contract procurement
14 January 2016

Planning for the 3 stages of waste contract procurement

Contract needs renewing? New service needs to be procured?

A waste contract procurement exercise is a process, and as such has a series of distinct phases which are dependent on the type of procurement approach adopted. It needs to follow the laws which regulates purchasing by public sector bodies. The chosen procurement approach will depend on a number of factors, which include the services that are required, contract packaging, type and funding as well as the council’s constitution/standing orders. Get it wrong and you could end up with a contract that is expensive, difficult to manage and creates a fractious relationship with your contractor from day one.

To stop this from happening it is important to plan your procurement. We are noticing more and more that a major concern for councils is that the approach should be 'future proof' and flexible – capable of not just absorbing change, but positively encouraging better, more efficient and sustainable approaches to waste management. Waste management, as we all know, is a complex and rapidly evolving area – in terms of European and UK legislation which can impose new challenges upon local authorities in terms of waste collection methods, sustainability targets or funding opportunities.

In essence we can narrow the procurement process down to three stages:

Stage 1: Pre-procurement
This includes undertaking activities such as market engagement which can help to define the requirement and importantly, provide the market with an opportunity to ask questions and raise any queries and issues at an early stage.

Identify the various issues that need to be considered when developing the contract such as:

  • scope
  • duration
  • criteria
  • type
  • packaging through various lots
  • procedures
  • timetable
  • process for selecting options

Depending on the scale of the procurement there may be a requirement for a business case to demonstrate a clear business need for the project, and ensure the project is affordable and capable of delivery. If not a business case, then pre procurement should at least consist of forecasting waste flows and composition over the periods necessary for a contract. The development of a mass flow model is critical for projecting future tonnages of waste. It helps to provide an understanding of the uncertainty associated with the quantity and composition of feedstock when looking at treatment technologies for example.

Stage 2: Procurement Preparation
This is the development of contract documents such as OJEU Notices, pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ), various schedules such as the specification and an information memorandum which can assist bidders in understanding the background and ambitions of the council.

Stage 3: Procurement Process
This is the actual procurement which can take various forms depending on the procedure and can include a variety of stages from evaluating PQQs and tender submissions to involving bidders through dialogue and negotiation prior to selecting a preferred bidder.

Whatever procedure is selected then there is a likely need for technical expertise. We have found that when we have provided our knowledge, leadership and understanding of waste treatment procurement in areas such as contract preparation (in particular the specification and evaluation); waste technologies; waste operations and contract management; and communications,then it has resulted in successful, cost effective and harmonious contracts delivering high quality services.