PLANS to award a contract for litter picking services in Kirklees to a private firm have come under fire.
Kirklees Council this week gave the green light for a 12-month trial project in which litter wardens wearing bodycams will patrol streets.
A private, as yet unnamed firm has been selected by the council to monitor environmental laws, including littering, dog fouling and other highway offences.
Deputy leader of the council, Shabir Pandor, praised the move, saying the new workforce would be able to tackle issues for which the council did not have resources.
But the move was criticised by Conservative councillor Martyn Bolt, who said: “The Labour group has always stated how against privatisation it is and yet here it is offering a private contract on a frontline service.” The Mirfield councillor was also critical of the report presented to the council’s cabinet this week.
“It was a very woolly report that left a lot of questions unanswered,” he said.
“Has it been made clear where the workers will be targeting if they are employing more people?
“The report does not state this anywhere. All it says is that a private contract has been signed and they will fine people for dropping litter.
“We shall see what people’s experiences are in the coming months.
“If we are selling contracts we want to be able to measure whether they are successful.”
Any surplus revenue will be shared between the council and the company.
The council has said the option for a 50 per cent discount for early payment of fines will be axed and the chance to avoid the fine by going on a ‘Good Citizen’ course will also be dropped.
Cabinet member for housing and enforcement management Coun Naheed Mather said: “We have really considered the risks and benefits of involving a private company but feel the time is now right to take this next trial step.
“My expectation is that we will have the same levels of success as other areas have seen.”