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Agenda item

Ubico Business Plan 2022 - 2023


To provide the Committee with an overview of the Ubico Business Plan 2022 – 2023.


That the Committee notes the Ubico Business Plan 2022 – 2023 and provides comment where needed.



The Committee received a report from the Group Manager – Commercial Development, which asked members to consider the Ubico Business Plan 2022-23 and make any comments that can be considered by the Cabinet and the Leader as Ubico Limited Shareholder Representative. 

Beth Boughton the Managing Director and Chris Urwin the Finance Director of Ubico attended along with Bill Oddy the Group Manager - Commercial Development, at Publica. Councillor Langridge welcomed the detailed report but queried the resilience of the refuse fleet, asked if this was sufficient and whether it was working under the partnership.

Beth Boughton confirmed that the partnership definitely worked on skills and knowledge, but recognised this was not always the case in practice, siting an example of vehicles braking down. Procurement of equipment, parts and fuel across Councils had delivered efficiencies, resulting in the more buying power the partnership has.

Councillor Postan queried the cost of refuse trucks, asked if the Council could design a specification, based on need and put it out to manufacture.,

Beth Boughton agreed that refuse trucks were expensive and confirmed they had looked at specification when replacing the fleet, within the specialist market available. She advised that a new electric design fleet was due to come onto the market soon, but advised it would be at least ten years before they would be available. Mr Urwin added that there were only a handful of manufacturers, and that Ubico buying power was not enough to have a bespoke design.

Elizabeth Griffiths advised on economies of scale, end of life of the fleet and the cost to convert to electric vehicles and the infrastructure required, which she felt could exceed £9 million. Mr Urwin added that a future option could be to move the existing fleet onto the second-hand market. Following a question from Councillor Cooper relating to the recruitment of staff. Beth Boughton summarised the processes in place at Ubico. She explained that Ubico budgeted to backfill vacancies to avoid gaps in service. Councillor Levy complimented Ubico on their service delivery over the last couple of years, and thanked them for working with residents on the timings of fleet rounds. He enquired if there was any coordination between the different authorities, Cotswold and WODC for example, with regards to routes and equipment sharing.

Mr Urwin explained that they were looking at cross boundary collaboration and were keen to come up with pilot initiatives. “In Cab” technology that the Council has led on, would be rolled out across the partnerships.

Councillor Hill commented that prompt action by Bill Oddy, when issues arose, was most appreciated. She went onto explain that some Minster Lovell residents had told her that recycling and glass that was collected separately, was then put in the same container on the truck. Mr Oddy explained that within the truck it was separated although it did look like it was being put into the same bin. Ubico were working with the Councils Communications Team on creating videos to show what happens to waste collection processes. The Chairman asked where the recycling depot was located. Mr Oddy confirmed it went to Witney before being transported to Birmingham.

Following on from Councillor Hill’s comments, Councillor Langridge stated he had seen operatives collect glass by tipping it into a wheelie bin. Mr Oddy responded that he believed that some operatives collected glass recycling into one bin, before depositing it into the refuse lorry. Beth Boughton also confirmed that the Birmingham depot would reject any mixed recycling, and Ubico would know if this practice was occurring regularly.

Councillor Dent raised the issue of fly tipping, asked how many instances there had been,   hoe the council would prosecute and how this issue was going to be managed moving forwards. Mr Oddy confirmed that collection and cost was clearly in Ubico’ s domain, however, Environmental Regularity Services (ERS) had an interest with the management of the issue. He reminded members of the mapping tool that recorded instances and looked at hotspots, identifying repeat locations. In addition there was an online form that residents could use to report fly tipping, and once reported, this would be reviewed by ERS before being passed to Ubico.

Councillor MacRae was able to clarify that ERS had recruited a specialist officer whose job was to investigate fly tipping occurrences and Ubico’ s involvement was only to collect  the rubbish. Once in post, ERS would be able to evidence and prosecute after investigations. Councillor MacRae was also keen to publicise prosecutions once they had occurred to warn off potential future fly tippers.

Councillor Dent queried the procurement and finance issues relating to Publica and Ubico. Elizabeth Griffiths clarified that the Council would be purchasing the fleet of vehicles.

The Chairman concluded that he thought the report was set out well and it was easy to see the objectives. He thanked the Ubico Management Team for their attendance.

Recommended that the Ubico Business Plan 2022-23 be approved by the Leader, as the Council’s Shareholder Representative of Ubico Limited, subject to any minor amendments that might arise from the final stages of consultation with the other Shareholder Councils and/or general editing.


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