Winter cleaning in Oulu: contractor pays € 20,000 extra for quality


The Finnish city of Oulu is much north of Minsk. But almost half of its inhabitants ride a bicycle at least once in winter, despite the snow. How and why - explains Pekka Tahkola, a consultant to the city administration on the development of cycling infrastructure.

The Finnish city of Oulu is much north of Minsk. But almost half of its inhabitants ride a bicycle at least once in winter, despite the snow. How and why - explains Pekka Tahkola, a consultant to the city administration on the development of cycling infrastructure.

Minsk: contractors don't want to save

They turned on the heating in the apartments - a sure sign that the bicycles will soon be safely packed for the winter by caring Minskers. The reason is partly due to the winter maintenance of bike paths: most often they are not cleaned at all, and snow drifts or a layer of ice grow in the path of the bike.
- Contractors, as a rule, are not interested in saving resources. After all, the more work they do, the more money the city will pay for work orders. Suppliers of consumables are not interested in saving money either.

For example, according to data collected The village, the volume of salt used on roads for sprinkling roads in Minsk has grown more than 3.5 times since 2013 and already exceeds 40 kilograms per person per year.

On the other hand, if the city gives less money to contractors (today these are Remavtodory, Minskzelenstroy and utilities) and saves money on winter cleaning, the quality may decrease. Ideally, the contractor himself should strive to save resources, but to carry out the cleaning with high quality - the chairman of the board of the Minsk Cycling Society believes. Pavel Gorbunov.

The old scheme led to endless ships
Finns are sensitive to the cleaning of paths in winter, they make sure that it is done efficiently and on time. For this, for the second year now, they have been using a system that motivates contractors to use resources economically and do the work efficiently.

Private companies are involved in the maintenance of road and bicycle infrastructure in the city. Previously, the municipality held a tender and signed a contract with the winning organization. After that, up to the trial, there were disputes about why the tender was not given to someone else, and the winner was simultaneously engaged in work.
If he did it badly, the city sometimes went to court too. But in 2017, it was decided that this scheme was not working well: after all, the problem is that the contractor is interested in making maintenance at the minimum acceptable level.

Instead of a short-term contract - service for 4 years

Now it works differently: claiming that they are the first in the world, the Finns have changed the rules of the game. The municipality is conducting the tender as before. But now at the tender not only the minimum requirements for cleaning are set, but also additional ones, with the full fulfillment of which the payment for work may increase. The winner of the tender automatically becomes the organization that, in its application, undertakes to carry out street cleaning as efficiently as possible.

The city has 6 regular contracts with organizations, which were concluded after the tender in the old way. Another contract was signed after the tender for the new model.

This contract is for 4 years and the contractor is responsible for 150 kilometers of bike paths, or 17% bike network. For his work, he receives 200,000 euros a year, approximately 20,000 euros is a net profit.
And the organization can receive the same amount in addition: 12,000 euros for bonus points and 8,000 for a high rating according to users (secret agents) and supervising employees from the municipality.
In total, you can get 320 points, each of which costs 30 euros. For example, points can be obtained if the contractor completes the service quickly: the maximum time is 4 hours, but it can be done in 3 hours.

If the slush was removed before it froze, plus 10 points. If removed too late or not on time, points can be taken away. Thus, if an organization does a job better than expected, then bonus points are added, worse - removed, but no more than 25% from previously received. Points are awarded even for contractor employees' own cycling on the retractable cycle path.

Every month 65 agents fill out a questionnaire

The tender is won by the organization that undertakes to carry out the work with the highest number of points. A long-term contract is signed with her to motivate her to invest in better technical equipment.

The quality of the work is monitored by both the municipality and the volunteers-townspeople, which reduces the burden on paid employees. The residents of the city are 65 secret volunteer agents who fill out questionnaires once a week. How often was the track cleaned? Was it convenient to use? All other residents can follow the equipment on the online map and see when it has finished cleaning on their street.

The technique is marked in blue, the route passed in brown.

The described system implies a rigid and constant quality assessment on the part of the customer - the city. And in the case of cleaning work, it is relevant for Minsk, according to Pavel Gorbunov:

- The system has drawbacks, but, perhaps, it will make the service of high quality, so that the citizens are satisfied, and the service organization is rational. Unfortunately, in order to start it in Minsk, the entire system of road maintenance will have to be reformed.
The text was prepared within the framework of the project “Urban Cycling in Belarus” with the financial support of the European Union.
Text: Anna Volynets

2018, October 26th

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