Agenda item

Waste Service Update

To receive an update in respect of the performance of the waste service.


Representatives from Veolia will be in attendance.


The Committee received an update from the Head of Commercial Services and a representative of Veolia, Gary Morison (Senior Contract Manager), on the performance of the waste service.


The Strategic Director (Operations and Commercial) advised that this had been a difficult time for the waste services team who were trying to provide the best service that they could in the circumstances.


The service was now showing signs of improvement and had achieved a degree of stability. As part of this, the Council would look to reintroduce the green waste service once it was confident that this would not impact on the performance of the rest of the waste service.


Mr Morison apologized on behalf of Veolia and advised that a combination issues with the introduction of the new Echo system, the impact of the ‘pingdemic’ which had seen 13 members of staff off at one point and the shortage of HGV drivers  had all contributed to the issues with the performance of the waste service.


However, since the suspension of the green waste service on 22 July 2021 in Folkestone and Hythe and 4 August 2021 in Dover the service had improved and Veolia had recruited 15 new HGV drivers, 13 of which had been retained. Veolia was also fast tracking non-HGV drivers to qualify to drive HGV vehicles and had 22 members of staff on the scheme.


The review of routes had been postponed while the service was stabilising and this would not considered again until early 2022. Members were advised that while the service still had further improvements to make the previous weekend had been the first where it had not been required to bring in additional crews from outside the district to complete rounds. Veolia had deployed an additional vehicle for the last 2 weeks to clear the backlog of collections.


Veolia was confident that performance had been improved sufficiently to reinstate the green waste service in one district at this point with the other district’s green waste service reinstated a couple of weeks after that date.


The Leader of the Council, Councillor T J Bartlett, advised that it had been a difficult period for the service following 10 years of excellent service from Veolia. He emphasised the importance of Veolia solving the problems and restoring the high standard of service that residents had come to expect.   


Members raised the following concerns with the current performance of the waste service:


·         That the previous promise of service improvement in three weeks had not been achieved.

·         To ask that drivers with local knowledge be involved in setting any new vehicle routes.

·         That there were still problems in respect of emptying communal waste bins.

·         That street cleaning was not happening and the mess created during the collection and non-collection of bins was going uncleared.

·         That poor management of the waste service by Veolia had led to the problems being experienced under the new contract and that the national shortage of HGV drivers and the impact of the ‘pingdemic’ were not the only factors for the poor service. In addition, Veolia would have been aware of the shortage of HGV drivers when the new contract was introduced.

·         That the new routes introduced under the new contract were not suitable for the resources allocated.

·         That communication on the problems affecting the service and the suspension of the green waste service had not been properly communicated to residents.

·         That green waste subscribers were Dover District Council customers and not Veolia customers and therefore the Council was responsible for communicating changes in service to them.

·         That uncollected waste was causing vermin problems in the district.

·         That there were difficulties in reporting missed bins on the website.

·         That waste vehicles were not being effectively used and that vehicles had been seen parked in the centre of Deal while bins remained uncollected.

·         The impact the poor performance of the service had on vulnerable residents.

·         The need for Veolia to have contractual penalties applied for poor performance.

·         The importance of the Council being robust in its dealings with Veolia and making Veolia deliver the service it was contracted to deliver.

·         The lack of resilience in the service.  

·         The need for effective communication with local residents as further changes were made to the waste service and in advance of the green waste service being restored.   


Members were advised that subscribers to the green waste service would be advised prior to its restoration.


It was requested that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee receive a further update before any changes were made to the waste service so that the resilience of any changes could be scrutinized.  

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