Report from Tom Lawrence (Head of Environmental Services) and Sharon Murphy (Head of Tenancy and Caretaking Services)
The Head of Environmental Services explained that the Task & Finish Group had gone through the standards of the contract and that the aim had been to identify what the expectations of waste collection should be from residents, and what the expectations on residents were to report issues to the council. A number of factors had been brought up these included: notice boards in blocks displaying collection dates, clear signage on bins and reporting of missed food waste collection within two working days through MyAccount. There had been interest in starting Community composting to assist in waste minimisation. There had been actions over clear information around recycling which would be implemented both immediately and over a longer term.
A resident discussed issues with food waste bins in Heathfield Gardens with these having not been cleaned, and previous issues with wasp and fly infestations. The Head of Environmental Services informed the Panel that there was a requirement in the contract for food waste bins to be cleaned, and in the near future this would involve off site deep cleaning.
In response to queries about only being able to report one missed collection at a time through MyAccount, the Panel heard that multiple reports should be possible and the Head of Environmental Services offered to look into this if needed.
In response to reports of missed collections the Head of Environmental Services acknowledged that repeatedly missed properties could be a problem, but that they were rare. Officers did check whether collections had happened, but this was a small team in a large borough which meant that self-reporting was important. There had been a major residual waste collection reschedule in July 2019 which had increased the resilience of the service. residual and commercial collections had been decoupled to increase the efficiency of collections.
In response to a Panel member who had stated that the caretaker of their residence had been unable to report missed collections though their mobile phone, the Head of Tenancy and Caretaking Services stated that all caretakers had been given smart phones, but accepted that some needed additional training to use them effectively.
The Head of Tenancy and Caretaking Services informed the Panel that a monthly meeting between their team and the Environmental services team had been set up. These would discuss repeated missed collection reports from residents and caretakers and would look at why missed collections were occurring.
Panel Members stated that many issues had been raised during the Task & Finish group and requested a further meeting to see which recommendations and actions had and had not worked, and any improvements made.
In response to queries about why there were no longer estate walkabouts, the Panel heard from the Head of Tenancy and Caretaking Services that the team of Estate Inspectors had been lost, but this function would be picked up by Tenancy Officers, as it was now one of their KPIs.
In response to questions about the accuracy of figures on missed collections in the report, the Panel heard that these were based on the number that were reported, and had been used to penalise Veolia.
Panel members queried what would be done about wheelie bins not being returned to the point of collection, and rubbish being left on the street from collections. The Head of Environmental Services stated that work was being done to ensure that these were properly returned and that there had been issues with bins being decanted into other bins to save time and that this needed to be stopped.
The meeting was paused at 19.18