From Deb Gardiner, Brading:
Anecdotally and through the CP’s letters page, it is evident that the Isle of Wight waste contract is still far from perfect. Whether or not these ongoing issues are evidence of deeper flaws in the new arrangement is difficult to gauge however as the IW Council, elected on a ticket of openness and transparency, remains taciturn about its new contract.
Well over a year after signing the deal with Amey the council has, despite assurances, failed to make the contract available for public scrutiny. Even allowing for the fact that sections will have to (we are told) be redacted to preserve commercial sensibilities, a year is an awful long time for the council and Amey to agree which information they deem unsuitable for prying eyes.
What’s more, the IW Council is also refusing to reveal the value of financial penalties they have been meted out by the council to Amey in respect of contractual failings.
I have no idea whether these fines are big or small nor indeed whether the contract is good or bad. The point here is that important elements of the information required to help us make a judgement on this 25-year contract are being withheld and that secrecy only breeds suspicion.
This is a £215m contract dictating how waste and recycling will be managed for a quarter of a century. It is one in which we, the IW Council tax payer are stumping up £70m in loans in order to furnish Amey with the tools to do the work – itself an odd arrangement.
The Independent IW Council needs to start practicing what it breaches and be open about the content of the contract and Amey’s performance against it.