To scrutinise the possible options for the future pest control service provision
a) Submitted - the report of the Cabinet Member for Planning and Regulatory for the Committee to consider possible options for the provision of the pest control service. An explanation was provided on the nature of the service and it was highlighted that the service was within the Regulatory Department's efficiency savings programme for 2015-2018 - a saving of £67,000. By now, it was confirmed that one officer had left and that by now, the figure to achieve the saving should the unit be abolished was £28,440.
It was added that a lack of income remained within the service, but that the Head of the Regulatory Department was eager to consider possible options;
• Abolish the pest control service
• Review and increase the number of management and pest control contracts by improving marketing
• Raise pest control fees to be self-sufficient
• Raise pest control fees to meet the saving of abolishing the service
(It was suggested that raising the fees would be too much inflation and therefore the service could become too expensive)
The Committee was requested to provide the department with 6 months to identify improvements, a new fees structure and realistic income targets to seek a self-sufficient service. The Senior Service Manager noted that there were possible opportunities, such as increasing the numbers of stable contracts and looking at increasing the number of contracts in the Arfon area.
b) During the discussion, the following observations were made:
• Welcome the opportunity to maintain a self-sufficient service - the service was necessary for the public
• Preferred a neutral cost rather than abolishing
• Abolishing the service would be likely to lead to an increase in the costs of private companies and therefore it was important to keep the service within the Council to safeguard prices for the public
• Important service although it was not statutory
• Welcome the need to market and to look at the fees of competitors / private companies
• The health and safety implications also needed to be considered and not only financial matters
• The posts within the service were responsible and specialist
• Encouraged collaboration with the recycling department
• Several internal services depended on the service - if the service was abolished, where and what would the cost of external / private companies come from and be?
c) In response to the above observations the Head of Service noted that he appreciated Members' support and that he was confident that it was possible to address the deficit.
In response to a question regarding using external / private companies, as the Council's pest control service was not a statutory one, it was noted that it was difficult to find the fees of private companies to note a comparison. The need for fair and consistent fees levels was highlighted and the opportunity to further research the possible opportunities was appreciated.
It was confirmed that efficiency savings were in question and that the service was not on the Council's cuts list.
RESOLVED to accept the report and that a period of 6 months should be permitted to submit a new fees structure and realistic income targets for the pest control service to become self-sufficient.