The Weekly Collection Support Scheme was launched in February this year. Outline bids had to be sent in by last month and I am pleased to say that we received 166 different bids.
This enthusiasm shows there is significant scope for councils to increase recycling rates and improve front-line services without cutting the frequency of rubbish collections. The bids include a range of proposals to support weekly collections, including infrastructure projects and incentive schemes.
My department is getting ready to give those bidders bespoke feedback later this month. This will help local authorities as they seek to finalise and improve their bids in time for the final bids deadline in August.
The scheme's prospectus states that,
"we will not disclose the nature, scale and scope of individual bids during the bidding process ... Once offer letters have been issued the department may publish top line information about bids where this is deemed to be in the public interest (for example, the name of the successful lead bidding authority, the amount that will be awarded and nature and scale of the successful proposal(s))".
Consequently, I cannot at present disclose the names of individual local authorities which are seeking funding from the scheme.
The reasoning for this stance is that such information is closely linked to tendering and procurement processes in local authorities. As a result, disclosure may have an adverse effect on competition between companies in this process and put local authorities in a disadvantageous position. For example, the disclosure of budget set aside for a purchase could encourage suppliers to raise their prices and prejudice the bargaining position of a local authority.