Waste collections in Wealden District Council have been “poor” and “unacceptable”.
That is the verdict of the senior councillor responsible for waste management.
Cllr Roy Galley, the Portfolio Holder, has confirmed the council is seeking to apply penalties against the contractor, Kier.
Cllr Galley’s written report to the council’s overview and scrutiny committee, had called bin emptying as “patchy”.
However, when he gave a verbal update to members he went much further.
An official council report of the committee meeting started:
“Cllr Galley acknowledged that Kier’s performance was poor and unacceptable, with 812 missed bins the previous week.
“He explained that the council was applying penalties wherever possible and officers were spending a considerable amount of time dealing with complaints. A number of options were being considered on how to deal with this issue moving forward.”
Since the committee meeting, Wealden District Council has announced that it has agreed an improvement plan with Kier.
Members of the overview and scrutiny committee were also advised that some of the Neighbourhood Recycling Points were not being collected from, therefore leaving recyclables spilling into car parks and some landowners were refusing to host these sites now.
The council’s official report continued:
“Cllr Galley informed the committee that street cleansing and litter picking had also been a concern.
“Results of this service were measured using a national standard and then averaged across the (East Sussex Joint) Partnership, so if results were good in another area, such as Eastbourne, this would mask poor performance in Wealden.
“In addition, when there were problems in one area, resources were transferred which then affected other areas.
“Discussion took place on the management of Keir staff and the ‘end of term’ attitude.
“Cllr Galley assured the committee that staffing would be discussed with the new management and it was important to ensure continuity amongst crews as they were familiar with the current routes.”
The Leader of the Council, Cllr Bob Standley, said the penalties incurred by Kier were “relatively small sums of money” and would not be allocated to the various wards affected by missed collections.
“Cllr Galley stressed that he shared other Members’ concerns at the poor performance of Kier and the impact on residents, and he was working with the officers to find a solution,” the council report said.
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