On Friday we got the bad news that Greenlight’s administrators had failed to find a buyer.

This is hard pill to swallow; the business has secure council contracts with three local authorities, all of whom were willing to renegotiate our rates and pay more for their services. That suggests there were deep, fundamental flaws in Greenlight’s business model.

The three councils, who buy services from Greenlight, have been working together from the second they told us they were applying for voluntary administration. 

I have to thank West Dunbartonshire’s team who have moved heaven and earth to help the administrators; providing written evidence to aid them with the court, accelerating monthly invoice payments to have a 48-hour turnaround to ensure staff were paid in full and on time, and coordinating with council colleagues to ensure we did not add any extra burden on the company.

Our focus from day one has been working to maintain services and protect jobs, but as with any business in administration, we are in the hands of the court and limited with what we can do.

Around 109 people, mostly from West Dunbartonshire, are suddenly unemployed, having done nothing wrong themselves. I’m hopeful that as with the BHS collapse, the council’s employability team, working with the DWP and others can find them all alternative employment as quickly as possible.

Greenlight provided important services to the council such as running the recycling centres, which we will reopen ASAP, and providing our most vulnerable residents with the Care of Gardens Scheme. We’re looking at all options to maintain these services and the jobs, including employing some or all of the staff to work in-house, but we must be careful not to burden the council with avoidable extra costs or liabilities that would put more jobs and services in jeopardy.

Greenlight’s failure will mean huge extra expense for the council. If others had gotten their way during the budget setting, our reserves would be empty. We’d be facing potential council redundancies and more service cuts right now so we could provide a recycling service. Situations like this are why we have reserves to cover unexpected costs and I’m thankful we did not succumb to the pressure and take the easy route of raiding those reserves to make ends meet.