Private company set to make thousands of pounds by fining litterbugs in Brent
PUBLISHED: 11:14 27 April 2016 | UPDATED: 11:14 27 April 2016
A pilot scheme to fine litterbugs in the borough will rake in thousands for a private company but could have made Brent Council up to £180,000, a Labour councillor says.
According to Cllr John Duffy, Brent Council could have made the sum if they ran the scheme rather than contract it out to Kingdom Security.
Under the agreement between the council will pay its contractors £46 for every £80 penalty notice Kingdom Security issues to litterbugs whether the fined is paid or not.
A report estimates 5,200 fines will be issued a year meaning the council must pay the company £239,200 out of the £416,000 it expects to receive by the levy.
But according to the Kilburn councillor most local authorities estimate that 30 per cent of people will not settle their penalty notices meaning 1,560 of those fined will ignore the charge.
If this is the case the council will receive £291,000 and after paying Kingdom Security what it is owed they are left with £52,000 rather than the six-figure sum if the scheme was managed in house.
He said: “The officers are suggesting this scheme is cost neutral.
“I believe this scheme is neither cost neutral or delivers value for money and wastes valuable council income by giving excessive profits to the private contractor.”
He added: “It’s not a trial, it’s a year’s contract. We have to take on all these extra expenses instead of using our own internal staff.
“It’s a money making scam for the private sector.”
Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Brent Council’s lead member for environment, denied Cllr Duffy’s claims.
She said: “Creating a cleaner, greener Brent is a top priority for residents and this pilot will enable us to take action against the small minority of anti-social individuals who do not love where they live. “Given that the council has lost half of its funding in recent years, we don’t currently have capacity to do this. Cabinet approved an approach that will cost council tax payers nothing and presents no financial risk to the council. The pilot allows us to test this approach to see if it is right for us longer-term and will give us the evidence we need to shape how it is delivered in future.”
“We will be tapping into Kingdom’s established expertise to quickly implement the initiative which has worked well in other councils and has been welcomed by residents across the borough.”