Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Harborough Tories flush away £1000 a week cleaning one public convenience

Last summer, despite a public outcry, the Conservative-run Harborough District Council closed the public lavatories in St Mary's Place, Market Harborough to save £15,000.

Today the Leicester Mercury reports that the council is paying contractors £53,000 a year to clean the town's other public conveniences on the Commons car park. That does not include the cost of labour.

This was discovered by Lib Dem councillor Barbara Johnson, who told the Mercury she was "staggered" by the amount:
"The Focsa charge for the Commons toilets is an eye-watering amount which does not include routine maintenance.

"I would clean the lavatories myself for a lot less than a £1,000 a week. I cannot understand how they could possibly cost so much to clean."
Long-standing readers will be familiar with Focsa and the company's rather eventful relationship with Harborough District Council in recent years.

Barbara Johnson wrote to the council seeking an explanation for these extraordinary costs. She was told in a reply from its deputy chief executive that:
The cleansing cost of £53,000 for the Commons car park toilets is straight from the contract as the tendered figure.

There is no breakdown of the figure. This is the amount the contractor put in the tender to provide the specified service.
A council spokesman also told the Mercury that he could not give a breakdown of the cost or say how often the toilets are cleaned. The newspaper quotes him as saying:
This figure includes costings for an attendant to oversee cleanliness, materials and all chemicals, supplies and equipment for cleaning.
To which Barbara Johnson replies:
"It can't include employment costs because they are accounted elsewhere at just £100 a week.

"They must be using some pretty expensive cleaning materials."
Whether the council is stonewalling or has simply been taken for a ride remains to be seen. Liberal England is on the case.

1 comment:

Wartime Housewife said...

This really is outrageous. Will you give us an update when you have one please? Thanks.