Five companies in bid to run toilets

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FIVE companies have come forward to express an interest in running Scarborough’s public toilets, it has been revealed.

Cllr Andrew Backhouse, Scarborough Council’s portfolio holder for Technical Services, will present a progress report on the proposed move to his fellow councillors on Monday.

He said that it currently costs the authority around £750,000 to operate the 42 public conveniences across the borough and putting the operation in private hands should save money.

“We’ve been looking at this for quite a while. I just felt there were better ways of doing this – there are private operators out there who do run the public conveniences in Blackpool, for example,” he said.

He added that the deal would include other advantages such as a programme of the ongoing refurbishment of facilities.

In his statement he said: “Following the invitation for expressions of interest in the provision of the public convenience service to include cleaning, repair and refurbishment.

“Five external companies that responded have been invited to participate in the next stage of the process which is for them to respond to an outline solution document that sets out the minimum requirements for the service.

“Responses on how they will meet these requirements will be evaluated and those companies that meet the criteria will be invited to participate in the next stage of the process.

“Reports will be presented to members on progress as appropriate.”

As well as public conveniences the council is also market testing the privatisation of the Spa Complex and they are part of a number of areas where the authority is looking to identify savings.

The authority is currently working with Northgate Public Services on a programme to streamline council services and identify areas where cuts can be made.

In March councillors were told by Hilary Jones, the council’s strategic director, that the predicted saving were on target to save £2.3 million over a five year period.

Northgate Public Services was appointed as the council’s improvement and efficiency partner in December 2010. Its fees are one-off payments, which do not impact on base budget savings, and are linked to agreed savings outcomes.

Also in December 2010 a pension review identified an additional £1 million costs for the council over a three-year period.

Monday’s meeting of the full council will be at the Town Hall from 2pm.