STREET cleaning teams must up their game if they are to hold onto a parish council street cleaning contract.

South Swindon Parish Council agreed not to tender for a new organisation to take on the street cleaning contract.

Currently, the £1 million contract for street cleaning and grounds maintenance is held by StreetSmart, a department of Swindon Borough Council that provides services to parish councils across Swindon.

But over the past year parish councillors have complained StreetSmart reports contain insufficient information.

And at a crunch meeting of the parish council on Tuesday night where the contract was discussed, Coun Nick Burns-Howell said waste should be dealt with more quickly. He told councillors: “I logged some litter through the StreetSmart app that was blowing around in Okus Road. I got a reply seven days later saying someone had been out and inspected and it was gone.

“While the people on the ground are doing a fantastic job, my concern is the data is not there. StreetSmart hasn’t been forthcoming with all the data we’ve requested. Tying ourselves into another five years concerns me.”

A review of the service by consultancy KMC, which was presented to the parish council, recommended councillors stick with StreetSmart.

But it criticised the approach to grounds maintenance and street cleaning as out of date, saying: “There has not been much by way of a formal review or assessment of the working practices for many years”.

South Swindon Parish Council’s clerk asked councillors for their backing in not putting the service out for tender this summer and instead looking at developing a new contract with StreetSmart.

Councillors agreed, but asked that there be a break clause in the contract in case improvements in reporting by borough managers did not materialise.

Backing the status quo, parish council chairman Chris Watts said: “The report is saying we are getting value for money, but we need to improve it.

"Let’s not cut our nose off to spite our face.”