The Environmental Services Manager presented a report in respect of the resources for domestic waste collection services. The Committee was advised that the report had been prepared following significant disruption to waste collection services in the summer of 2018. This had impacted on 20,000 households, with 10,000 not receiving a waste collection service until the following week. The problems had occurred for a variety of reasons, including staff leave and sick leave. The Place team had provided support but this had distracted them from their work. Agency staff had also been employed to help, though this had occurred at a cost to the Council. Officers were proposing the introduction of three new posts in order to enhance resilience within the team.
So far in 2018/19 the Council had spent £91,000 on agency staff, whilst the previous year the cost had been over £100,000. There was no budget for agency staff so this represented an overspend. Officers were suggesting that the extra staff proposed in the report would help to address the problems that had caused the Council to employ agency staff temporarily, leading to a reduction in costs for the service. However, Officers noted that the Council might continue to need to use agency staff from time to time.
Members were asked to note that the Government would be consulting on proposed changes to waste collection services in 2019. There were a number of proposals detailed in the report which would have implications for Council services should they be approved. The proposals included the suggestions that:
· There should be compulsory weekly refuse collections.
· Garden waste collection services should be free.
· The range of plastics in use in the country should be reduced.
· Approaches to recycling should be standardised across the country.
Redditch Borough Council was working with the other local authorities in Worcestershire, as well as the County Council, to respond to these proposals from the Government. Members would be notified of the outcomes of the Government’s consultation and the implications of any changes to the Council in due course.
Members subsequently discussed a number of issues relating to domestic waste collection services:
· The reciprocal arrangement with Bromsgrove District Council whereby the refuse collection teams collected waste in locations close to their boarders. Officers confirmed that this would be continuing.
· The need for a budget for replacing bins.
· The positive impact that the chargeable garden waste service had had on the Council’s budget. Members were advised that the number of customers for garden waste collection services had exceeded expectations.
· The need to ensure that expenditure on waste collection services was derived from relevant budgets.
Members agree the recommendation from the Business Case, and that £83,674 additional funding is included in the medium term financial plan to fund 3 members of staff to support the waste collection service.