Serco – do the right thing (again)

February 26, 2021 4:14 PM
By Peter Dobbs

DDDC waste collectionIn an interview with the BBC's R4 Today programme on 25th January, Serco's CEO Rupert Soames announced that the company's profits had grown to over £150 million and that they would be paying a dividend to shareholders. They had previously announced that they would be sharing their bounty with their employees with each one receiving a £100 bonus.

Serco is one of the key companies behind the controversial 'Track and Trace' scheme headed up by Dido Harding. It is also the company that has the contract for waste services with Derbyshire Dales District Council.

In summer 2020 it approached the District Council with a request for additional funding, estimated to be about £100k beyond the agreed contract price of approximately £3.1 million per year, due to Covid related issues.

In the last few weeks we have learnt about countless problems with waste collection in the Dales with some people waiting weeks for certain types of bins to be emptied. Some towns had almost impassable pavements due to the numbers of recycling bins left out in the vain hope that their waste was going to be collected.

Clearly Serco have struggled with numerous problems - staff shortage, ice and snow, vehicles out of action - however there is no escaping the fact that they did not deliver the service that they promised when the contract was signed.

They have however been able to make a considerable profit overall and have done 'the right thing' by their workers, many of whom should be thanked for keeping on working through the pandemic. They deserve their £100 bonus.

Perhaps they should consider 'doing the right thing' for the Council Tax payers of the Dales and returning to the Council at least some of that £100k.