The Executive considered a report which provided an update on progress made following the recommendations and decisions taken by the Executive at its Special Meeting on 12 July (Minute E.27/22 refers) regarding the Waste and Recycling Service.
In discussion, the following points were raised
a) The Deputy Chief Executive reported that a successful and productive meeting had recently been held with the majority of Waste and Recycling staff that were due to return to the Council’s employ at the beginning of October 2022. Members were grateful for this update and wished for a formal acknowledgement of thanks to be sent on behalf of the Executive to those operatives who had been working on the frontline in incredibly difficult circumstances in recent years;
b) Members welcomed the confirmation received from officers that street cleanliness was recognised as being very high on the list of priorities when the service returned in-house;
c) It was noted that a detailed (and appropriately worded) letter would be sent from the Council to all of its residents concerning the new in-house Service at the start of October 2022;
d) In recognition of the environmental and sustainability benefits, it was felt to be disappointing that, despite the Council allocating £200,000, there had yet to be any take up of any additional Community Composting Scheme across the District;
e) It was vital that the Council took account of the experience and knowledge of the current waste and recycling workforce to help improve the operation of the Service. Furthermore, the local knowledge and expertise of all local Ward Members and Town and Parish Councils had to also be utilised as quickly as possible;
f) Some Members stated that residents were not appreciative of the repeated reference in Council communications to the Garden Waste service being defined as ‘free of charge’. Residents were of the view that they had been paying for the service via their Council Tax precepts and these Members therefore asked that this statement be removed from any related future communications;
g) With regard to the recommendations to Full Council that related to the Garden Waste Service, it was felt that the proposal to charge for the Service would offer residents the choice on whether to engage with the service or not. In addition, the point was made that a service charge was necessary in order to make the Service viable moving forward.
h) Members noted that a more detailed report on the operating costs of the service was to be presented to the Executive Meeting to be held on 1 December 2022;
It was then:
1. That the actions being taken by the project team to ensure a safe transfer of the service on 3 October 2022 be endorsed;
2. That the approach to the service transition phase be endorsed;
3. That the information in section 5 of the presented agenda report regarding the garden waste collection service be considered and recommended to Council to implement a chargeable garden waste service from March 2023;
4. That a further report be brought back to the Executive at its 1 December 2022 Meeting on the progress of the transition period and the costs incurred to date on the service transfer;
5. That the organisational changes made by the Head of Paid Service be noted and the further changes required to ensure that the Waste and Operations team and the wider organisation, has the capacity and skills required to deliver the Council’s key services and corporate priorities be endorsed;
6. That the use of the £120,000 from the Revenue Grants Earmarked Reserve to fund the Council’s share of the 2-year fixed term senior role outlined in paragraph 6.3.2 of the presented agenda report be approved;
That Council be RECOMMENDED to:
7. end the current free non-statutory Garden Waste collection service from Monday, 31 October 2022 to ensure that there are sufficient resources and capacity to deliver the statutory waste and recycling collections services; and
8. introduce a chargeable, fortnightly Garden Waste collection from early spring 2023 at a charge of £49 per bin per household subscription.