Councillors in Flintshire have voted in favour of ditching its controversial enforcement firm Kingdom in favour of bringing the service back in-house.
At an Environment committee meeting held at County Hall today councillors were asked to make a choice between three options ahead of a potential contract renewal for Kingdom.
1. Advertise and award a single contract for all low-level environment enforcement – including car parking. This was the option recommended by Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee in September 2017. The proposal included an independent appeals process to be undertaken by a Senior Officer within the Council.
2. Remove the current arrangement and provide all enforcement activities through the in-house service at the current staffing levels.
3. Extend the in-house provision through recruitment or regional working to provide the same level of coverage as provided by the existing contractor.
The committee voted in favour of the third option, to extend the in-house provision – the decision will now go before the council’s cabinet committee.
If approved it will mean Kingdom’s contract will not be renewed and the council will take back enforcement responsibilities.
Kingdom were introduced carry out the council’s ‘zero tolerance’ litter policy, it provides bodycam wearing enforcement officers to patrol the county’s towns and streets issuing £75 fines to members of the public for littering and dog fouling offences.
The company is contracted to provide four enforcement officers and one team leader, currently there are just two officers and a team leader in Flintshire.
Figures presented at today’s meeting show that in the two year since Kingdom was introduced its officers have dished out nearly £530,000 in fines to people dropping cigarette related litter yet last year they only managed to hand out 18 fines for dog fouling.
Prior to Flintshire Council contracting out litter enforcement its own officers handed out just 86 fines in twelve months for dropping cigarette related litter.
85% of revenue brought in from fines goes to private firm while 15% goes to the council.
Speaking ahead of today’s meeting Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Countryside, Councillor Carolyn Thomas, said:
“As the temporary arrangement with Kingdom is coming to an end, we need to make a decision on how we proceed and there are a number of options to consider, all of which have benefits and disadvantages.
Experience from the town centres has shown that a more robust approach to enforcement has benefited the town centres in terms of cleanliness.”
Holywell Town Council has written to Flintshire County Council to ask for the removal of Kingdom enforcers due impart to the overzealous nature in which they pursue those deemed to have dropped litter.