Last week was taken up with the small matter of our quarterly Executive meeting, our AGM and our annual two-day UK Conference, Exhibition and Awards.Lots of you will have been in Birmingham for the two days as delegates and hopefully you got something out of the event, whether that was ideas for new services, ways to help solve issues with existing ones or just a better understanding of what is going on at the moment.
We will be asking for your feedback soon, with it being a new venue after 5 years in Nottingham we are keen to hear what worked and what didn’t work for you. I know what did and didn’t work behind the scenes but that is a different story. People come up to me and ask me how it was going, and I genuinely never know, so my usual response is to ask the other person how they think it is going. And broadly the responses were good, which is always a relief here. Equally we know there are various elements that can be improved and lessons we can learn now we have experienced the venue for the first time.
43 different speakers presented over the two days, which gives you an idea of the scale of the LARAC Conference. That takes some organising. Add in 46 exhibitors and over 350 delegates and you can see why we wanted to try and new venue out.
As the LARAC Scholars know to their cost, as I may have mentioned it to them a couple of times, I do a bit of hockey coaching. Part of that is looking for takeaways (no not the food variety) after a training session and, to me, attending a conference is no different. My takeaways, apart from a sore throat and a cold? The contracts session threw up some interesting points. Is in-sourcing really a trend? I don’t think, so as there are authorities moving from in house to outsourced as well as the other way around. The fact one of the speakers said it was split 45/55 shows it is not unbalanced. It also threw up the idea for me that out sourcing needs to change in some way, a new “product” needs to be offered by the waste companies that provides the right flexibility and risk that local authorities might want, without the traditional catch of the high price that is associated with uncertainty. It is something that we could work with them to try and explore. It might not exist, but it feels like it is worth at least seeing how we might find a new way to let collection and disposal contracts.