Executive Committee 10 February 2015 Pest Control Service

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1 Executive Committee 10 February 2015 Pest Control Service For Decision Executive Champion Councillor Alan Thacker Community Safety Director: Kate Ryan, Director of Communities 1. Purpose of Report 1.1 To agree the future delivery model for a pest control service to the residents of West Dorset. 2. Officer Recommendation 2.1 To join the North Dorset District Council framework agreement for a pest control service commencing from August Reasons for Recommendation 3.1 To provide an efficient and resilient pest control service across the tri-council partnership. 4. Background Information 4.1 Councils have a duty to control public health pests within their areas and this has typically been discharged through environmental health and estate functions. The District Council has an in-house pest control service providing treatments for public health and nuisance pests to residents at a reasonable charge. Residents can also use commercial suppliers or less effective home treatments using products from DIY stores and garden centres. 4.2 North Dorset District Council (NDDC) has provided an outsourced pest control service for residents since 2003 and the service is due to be re-tendered and awarded as a contract/framework agreement for a maximum 4-year period (2 years + 2) during the first half of There is an opportunity for the District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council (WPBC) to access the framework agreement and have a single service offer to residents in all three council areas. The service would be provided by a commercial supplier and its costs met by the charges made to residents by that supplier.

2 5. Report 5.1 District/Borough councils have a duty under the Prevention of Damage by Pests Act 1949 to control public health pests (principally rats and mice) on their land and take appropriate action on other land with infestations using provisions in the Act and subsequent legislation. Land in council ownership is dealt with through Property or the operating service using the in-house service or a commercial supplier. The council has statutory provisions to require other landowners/residents to take remedial actions as necessary. 5.2 Councils have traditionally provided a pest control service to residents for public health pests including rats; mice; fleas; cockroaches; bedbugs etc. These treatments have historically been free to residents as a council service but charges have been introduced over recent years along with charges for treatment of other insects including wasps and ants. 5.3 The District Council has a well regarded in-house service with 2 full-time equivalent (FTE) posts, vehicles and supplies. However, more recently it has been operating with 1 officer in-post with relief contractor support. In , the service provided 1058 treatments/advice requests. The budget is shown below excluding all recharges; Expenditure 61,911 Income from charges 41,083 Net service cost 20, WPBC ceased its in-house pest control service in 2008 as a cost cutting measure. There was little evidential impact when discontinued and no research on whether pest populations increased as a result. It is likely that residents with pest problems went to commercial suppliers or attempted to home treat using rodenticides and other products from retail suppliers. However, there was a loss of expertise to officers when investigating pest control and drainage problems received as environmental health complaints. 5.5 NDDC is re-tendering their pest control service this year. The cost of the service is met directly by the charges made by the supplier to residents. The only direct cost to the council is that of contract management. With the formation of the tri-council partnership there is the opportunity for the District Council to join a framework agreement. A report is being made to WPBC s Management Committee at their meeting on 3 February 2015 with a recommendation to follow the same model. If both councils agree, this will provide a single pest control service offer across the tri-council partnership area with the following benefits; Uniform service for residents across the tri-council partnership area at a reasonable fixed charge to them Direct cost saving for WDDC of approximately 21,000pa Re-introduction of an accredited service for Borough residents Service management efficiencies from the single approach

3 Improved treatment quality in WPBC with safer working practices and reduced environmental risks from rodenticides (poisons) A source of expertise for officers when dealing with pest control and drainage complaints (as a condition of contract) 5.6 The current charge for a WDDC resident for a rat/mice treatment using the inhouse service is 42. The equivalent treatment through the current contracted service at NDDC is 35. WDDC provide reduced charges for those in receipt of certain means tested benefits. The subsidy cost to the council over the past 12 months has been 361. With this relatively low take up of discount (and should the report recommendation be accepted), it is proposed to discontinue it. The administration of a discount solely for WDDC would be burdensome to the supplier and the council. 5.7 The framework agreement would be owned by NDDC and managed through the shared service partnership. It would have a 2 year term with an option to extend for a further 2 years upon satisfactory performance. The service would be monitored through key performance indicators including service user satisfaction. 5.8 NDDC also operate a contracted out dog warden service which is being retendered at the same time. Both the District and WPBC currently have an inhouse service. It is not intended to change these arrangements at this time. Dog warden services are high profile in the District and WPBC and our two council areas have unique coastal and resort features with a significant influx of visitors in the holiday season. In-house services provide a high degree of flexibility to meet demand. 5.9 If your committee decide to retain the in-house service, your officers may ask that NDDC include an option in the framework agreement for WDDC to join at a later stage if appropriate. 6. Financial Implications 6.1 If WDDC ceased its in-house service the direct cost saving would be approximately 21,000pa. Management costs would be accommodated within existing resources. There may be a requirement to contribute to the procurement project cost; this would be met from within existing budget. Other Considerations: 7. Legal/Statutory Power 7.1 Prevention of Damage by Pests Act Human Resources (including Health & Safety) 8.1 There are 2 FTE posts (1 of which has been held vacant). Discussions are taking place with the affected employee. The employment implications of joining the NDDC framework agreement will be subject to further

4 consideration, including TUPE transfer; voluntary redundancy and redeployment. 8.2 The use of rodenticides is tightly controlled. The current WDDC service complies with requirements to protect staff and public health and safety. The same standards will be required of any subsequent supplier. 9. Risk Management 9.1 There is a risk that the tender return charges for treatments will be higher than the current WDDC charges. This is considered unlikely especially if WDDC & WPBC join the project to increase the potential volume of treatments. 9.2 There is a risk that the procured service is not of the same quality as the current WDDC service. This risk will be minimised through the contract specification and performance monitoring arrangements. 10. Reputation, including Communications and Consultation (Including comments from unions on decisions affecting staffing arrangements) 10.1 UNISON appreciate the opportunity to comment upon the staffing implication of this report and would offer the following:- The loss of two full time posts is regrettable, we would urge the council to be fully mindful upon the need for critical mass within the organisation and the impact of reducing staff numbers upon it. In this situation given the advantages offered to both the community and the partnership, UNISON would like the individual in post to afforded the maximum support to either transfer under TUPE regulations, be redeployed to a separate job within the council or offered Redundancy/flexible /retirement options if applicable. 11. Equalities 11.1 An equalities impact assessment will be undertaken before the tendering process formally commences. 12. Crime and Disorder 12.1 None 13. Environmental Considerations 13.1 The regulated use of rodenticides reduces the risk of environmental damage. 14. Economic Impact Assessment 14.1 Is the proposal likely to lead to an increase in the level of skills needed in the local workforce? - No

5 14.2 Is the proposal likely to lead to growth in local employment? If a supplier employs locally to meet commitments 14.3 Is the proposal likely to lead to growth in the number of businesses? - No 14.4 If the overall economic implications are seen as negative what mitigating factors have been considered? N/A 15. Corporate Plan (links to corporate aims & priorities) 15.1 Priority: D1. Deliver the benefits of the shared service partnership between WDDC and WPBC Priority D3. Ensuring the delivery of efficient and economic services which are shaped by customer needs 16. Appendices 16.1 None 17. Background Documents (including relevant policy documents) 17.1 Information on Dorset pest control services can be found at: &pt= &sw=pest+control&x=0&y=0 Report Author & Contact: Graham Duggan, Head of Community Protection Telephone:

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