Refuse collection blog – service improvements

Cllr Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for Sustainability, presents the council’s latest refuse collection data dashboard and reflects on some of the service improvements that are being made to ensure collections are as reliable as possible…

“We have now started wheelie bin collections for the homes in the south and west of the city, covered by the Lifford Lane depot.

“This is the fourth and final phase of the wheelie bin roll-out, and the result of an incredible amount of hard work and planning by everyone involved within our fleet and waste management department.

“I thank everyone concerned for their efforts. We are now in what we term the “stabilisation” phase as residents and collection crews get used to the new ways of presenting and collecting waste from households.

“We know we are already experiencing some initial teething troubles – it is inevitable when rolling out a new collection system on the scale we have.

“As experienced with the previous phases, we expect to see a spike in missed collections and this has settled down within two or three months to what are regarded as normal levels.

“I would ask that residents remain patient at this time. I acknowledge that every missed collection is service failure for the individual household concerned, but please be assured we are working as quickly as possible to reach a “business as usual” position, as we realise how important this is to citizens.

“Learning from the previous roll-outs, we have put in a number of actions across the city, that include:

– Depot briefings to all crews highlighting the issues and the consequences for the citizen
– The recruitment of permanent staff to replace agency as appropriate
– Training and buddying existing staff with drivers to assist in enabling them to be recruited into driver positions (key role for refuse collection)
– Reviewing the routes to improve efficiency
– Reviewing the domestic waste service for flats above commercial premises, because it is apparent when buildings have been converted to flats we have not been advised/ council tax colleagues have not been advised, meaning our planning has been adversely affected
– Reviewing assisted collections as these have a significant impact on productivity. We are completely committed to supporting citizens who need this service but it seems that a significant number of assisted collections appear not to meet the criteria for assistance
– Reviewing red carded properties
– Reviewing the fact that in some areas in the city, in particular Sutton Coldfield wards, we have very high participation in recycling. This is very welcome however we need to review our system to respond to this and ensure that we meet the demand and volume of waste recycled

“We are committed to leaving no stone unturned and will continue to keep you posted on how we are doing in the coming months. Everything we are doing will help make Birmingham cleaner and greener in the long-term, with a leaner more efficient service being offered to citizens.”

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