Dorset

Dorset Waste Partnership: Action after overspend

An action plan has been agreed to improve waste services in Dorset after a report found "shortcomings in its basic financial processes".

Dorset Waste Partnership reported a £2.8m overspend, prompting a review.

The review found it had spent more than £1.5m on hire vehicles without a proper tendering process and had failed to insure its vehicles correctly.

The director of the partnership, which provides waste and recycling services for seven councils, has been suspended.

Three separate reviews were brought together in a report to a joint committee, which oversees the partnership for Christchurch, East Dorset, North Dorset, Weymouth and Portland, Purbeck, West Dorset and Dorset County councils.

'Very poor'

The committee agreed on a 37-point action plan, which included monthly meetings of partners, better monitoring of vehicle hire and clearer allocation of budget responsibility.

The report said financial management of the partnership, which was launched in 2011, had been "very poor" and required "urgent attention".

It said, to address this, "wholesale financial management and budgetary control arrangements are to be introduced".

The report said two contracts for vehicle hire, worth £765,000 and £808,000, had not complied with tendering rules.

It said there had been a "significant breach" of procedure and legal requirement.

'Insufficient staff'

Insurance details for 28 vehicles had not been passed to the Motor Insurers' Database, which is a criminal offence.

Director of the partnership, Steve Burdis, is suspended while an independent-led investigation takes place.

Councillor Tony Alford, chair of the joint committee, said: "Partner councils are clear that the failings highlighted by the reviews are unacceptable.

"Together, we are committed to putting this right and providing an efficient, business-like waste and recycling service to our residents.

"We must also recognise that the DWP has successfully met many of its aims, including increasing recycling and reducing landfill, and that the majority of residents also say they are happy with their service."

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