Council owed 7.5m
A CONTROVERSIAL enforcement company which hands out fines for littering and dog fouling has gone into administration.
XFOR Local Authority Support has been working on behalf of Blaenau Gwent Council others since 2011 and was brought in by Torfaen council in January to clamp down on residents who drop litter or allow their dogs to foul in public places. Their services were also utilised by Bromley Council amongst others.
Its enforcement teams, seven staff in Torfaen and five in Blaenau Gwent, handed out fines of up to £75 to offenders, with the local authority receiving a share of that revenue.
In the first six months of running operations in Blaenau Gwent, XFOR handed out 1,500 fixed-penalty notices.
Since January 21 in Torfaen, more than 250 were handed out.
But now the company has gone into administration, with some staff in Torfaen saying they have not been paid by XFOR since they started work on January 14.
In an e-mail, operations co-ordinator for XFOR Kirsty Woddison said: “As XFOR are now in administration, the administrators will now be dealing with your salary payment.”
On the Companies House database it says that XFOR Local Authority Support went into administration on March 12, and London-based SFP group confirmed it was dealing with the administration.
A member of the Torfaen team, who did not want to be named, said: “They owe me about £1,800 in total since January in wages and bonus payments.
“We had to give out four tickets a day and for any over that we would receive £5-a-ticket bonus. Because we had to use our own cars people haven’t been able to afford to come to work.”
They said the team had given out 200 tickets in February, earning the company around £15,000, but noone had been paid.
Last Friday some staff received a loan from Kingdom Security, another enforcement company, to cover wages.
Kingdom appears to have bought XFOR Local Authority Support, though when approached on the issue the company declined to comment.
Independent Group leader on Torfaen council Elizabeth Haynes said: “It is hugely embarrassing for the council and it does have to make you question whether due diligence was done on the company.”
‘No money owed to council and patrols continue’
A BLAENAU Gwent spokesman said all necessary checks were made and there is no financial impact on the council, adding it was happy with the service XFOR provided.
He added: “We have been made aware that the XFOR Group has been acquired by Kingdom Security. The contract with the council remains in force and enforcement officers have continued to patrol Blaenau Gwent and issue fixed-penalty notices for littering and dog control offences.”
A Torfaen council spokesman said due diligence was undertaken in appointing XFOR, which had experience of local authority enforcement.
“Torfaen council is not owed any money by XFOR, as the contract means it is paid a proportion of every ticket issued.
“The contract between Torfaen council and XFOR cannot be assigned to a third party so we are currently considering whether a new agreement to continue with this enforcement trial is worth pursuing. Discussions with Kingdom Securities will take place in the near future,” he said.