Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke council staff bought bins without approval

Staff at Stoke-on-Trent City Council will have to undergo compulsory training after 84,000 wheelie bins were ordered without councillors' knowledge.

An internal auditors' report has been published after an investigation into Waste Management Services.

The report makes seven recommendations including a "comprehensive" review of the cost of its recycling system.

The council said it was "inappropriate" to comment before an Audit Committee meeting on Wednesday.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council spent £1.6m on the bins before the order had been approved.

The bins were planned as part of an expansion of the council's recycling scheme and were designed to take food, garden waste and cardboard.

'Instruction unclear'

The report states: "While discussions continued regarding the proposal to change the recycling scheme, a decision was taken to place orders for the purchase of 14,000 and 70,000 blue wheeled bins respectively.

"This decision was not communicated to members, nor included in the formal decision-making process.

"Whilst it is known which officers placed and authorised the orders, it is unclear who gave the instruction to proceed with placing the orders with the supplier."

The report adds that many councillors thought the bins would be leased and not bought.

It states auditors have been unable to identify "any evidence" of member involvement in the authorisation of the ordering of the bins.

The council said all the officers originally involved in drawing up the Waste Management Strategy in 2007 and the proposals to introduce an enhanced recycling service are no longer employed by the city council.

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