The Isle of Wight Council and Island Roads have agreed initial savings worth more than £11million following a renegotiation of the highways PFI contract, which will see rubbish bins emptied less often and fewer grass cuttings across the Island.
The arrangement, which started on 1st April, is a £600,000-a-year cost reduction over the next 18 years of the agreement, or £11.4 million in total when index-linked.
The council, supported by Jasmine Consulting, is continuing to work with Island Roads to identify further savings that can be implemented from April 2020. When completed, the total savings over the lifetime of the contract could total around £40million.
Just last night a disgruntled dog walker in Cowes took to Twitter to express her disgust at the state of dog poo bins at the nearby recreation ground. It appears the bin has not been emptied for sometime, but the Isle of Wight Council have since confirmed that the bin has now been emptied.
@islandecho @iwcponline @GREATBritain @iwight Tonight I walked my puppy with daughter in law & her 3 dogs at Cowes rec, Park road & had to put a poo in the poo bin by place Rd entrance & AGAIN overflowing on the floor. You want us to use them EMPTY THEM. KIDS PLAY UP THERE🐕💩💩 pic.twitter.com/tqM1cAVbVA
— Sharon Cade (@shazyiw) April 17, 2019
Councillor Ian Ward, cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, said:
“This very successful contract has transformed our Island roads since it started six years ago, and it will continue to do so. It has delivered some of the best roads in the country and, with these savings, it represents even better value for money for Islanders.
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“The savings do not affect road resurfacing and footpath improvements plus high priority maintenance and road safety works, which will continue as required.
“It does however mean people will find, some aspects of maintenance and services reduced for example, grass verges will not be cut as often to encourage biodiversity, and roadside bins will not be emptied as frequently. However, these changes are an evolution of the original contract as we have discovered the service was better than needed in some areas.”
As revealed by Island Echo yesterday, the arrangement’s implementation means that CCTV control room operators are being axed. CCTV cameras across the Isle of Wight will no longer be monitored around the clock, raising concerns for public safety.
5 members of staff are to be cut from the CCTV control room with a similar number in the area of street cleaning and also grass cutting.
In all areas, Island Roads is looking at redeployment and other avenues to keep any compulsory redundancies to a minimum. The council has also agreed to look favourably on applications from those affected by redundancy for any jobs it advertises. In practice this means, that if the person meets a council job specification, the authority will guarantee an interview.
Service director at Island Roads, Steve Ashman, said:
“While under this new agreement, we will be providing a reduced level of service, we are confident residents will continue to receive an extensive, high quality programme of highways improvement and maintenance.”