Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Streets, Environment & Homes Sub-Committee - Tuesday, 1st October, 2019 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX

Contact: Stephanie Davis
020 8726 6000 x84384  Email:

No. Item


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 9 July 2019 as an accurate record.

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The minutes of the meeting held on 9 July 2019, that was published as a supplement to the original version contained in the agenda, were agreed as an accurate record.



Disclosure of Interests

In accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct and the statutory provisions of the Localism Act, Members and co-opted Members of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to register disclosable pecuniary interests (DPIs) and gifts and hospitality to the value of which exceeds £50 or multiple gifts and/or instances of hospitality with a cumulative value of £50 or more when received from a single donor within a rolling twelve month period. In addition, Members and co-opted Members are reminded that unless their disclosable pecuniary interest is registered on the register of interests or is the subject of a pending notification to the Monitoring Officer, they are required to disclose those disclosable pecuniary interests at the meeting. This should be done by completing the Disclosure of Interest form and handing it to the Democratic Services representative at the start of the meeting. The Chair will then invite Members to make their disclosure orally at the commencement of Agenda item 3. Completed disclosure forms will be provided to the Monitoring Officer for inclusion on the Register of Members’ Interests.


There were none.


Urgent Business (if any)

To receive notice of any business not on the agenda which in the opinion of the Chair, by reason of special circumstances, be considered as a matter of urgency.


There were no items of urgent business.


Cabinet Member Question Time: Cabinet Member for Clean Green Croydon pdf icon PDF 401 KB

Question Time with the Cabinet Member for Clean Green Croydon,

Councillor Stuart Collins.

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The Cabinet Member for Clean Green Croydon, Councillor Stuart Collins presented his report which included the following highlights:

·         There had been an increase in recycling rates in the last year from 38% to 48%. New initiatives were planned and being rolled out to encourage more recycling.

·         There had been a video produced as part of National recycling week about Croydon’s recycling journey which was available on the Council website;

·         Croydon’s children understood the problems faced and it was encouraging through school visits to witness the extent of their knowledge, understanding and commitment to playing their part to tackle environmental issues;

·         The Council was working with businesses to encourage waste minimisation through education on single use plastic and the use of reusable water containers;

·         The community was being encouraged to report fly tipping with a £100 reward incentive for information provided that led to prosecution. A community based approach to enforcement was being encouraged;

·         Croydon had a good track record of prosecuting environmental offenders and the Council suggested to the Probation Service and Courts that offenders service their offence by clearing up fly tips;

·         Monitoring of pick up rates of fly tips was in progress and the achieved rate of 97% of collections within 24hrs was commendable;

·         There had been a reduction in the number of missed collection due to changes made to ensure that the same crew collected from the kerbside as well as bulky waste;

·         The Cabinet Member had written to the Secretary of State regarding Croydon being a trial borough for a sofa collection deposit scheme which may alleviate some of the fly tipping issues.



It was asked whether assurance could be given that there was no intention to change the frequency of waste collections to a monthly schedule. The Cabinet Member responded that there were no changes planned and even in the event of further austerity cuts there would be no changes. The only potential changes would be if the Council was in the position to offer flats above shops the ability to recycle.


There was a concern that the initiative of £100 to report fly tips could cause neighbourhood disputes. The Cabinet Member responded that this initiative was for more serious cases of fly tipping and it was rare that details of the informant would be released. The informant was also able to withdraw their statement if they wished to. It was important that if information that led to a prosecution was provided, that there would be no repercussions for the informant and all necessary steps would be taken to protect their identity.


A further challenge was made that evidential tracking that resulted in prosecution was difficult and it was questioned what improvements could be made. The Cabinet Member acknowledged that enforcement was difficult as the prosecution process was challenging. The key was to gather as much information and evidence as possible. CCTV was an effective tool to prove that a person was at a specific location but it could also be difficult to identify the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31/19


South London Waste Partnership Annual Review pdf icon PDF 282 KB

To receive an update on the progress of the new South London Waste Partnership (SLWP) Lot 1 contract which commenced for Street Cleansing in March 2018 and Waste and Recycling in September 2018.

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Officers introduced the item and item and provided a presentation which updated the Sub-Committee on the following:

·         There had been 22m collections in the last 18 months with 99.78% collection rates.

·         The service provide 8,000 households with assisted collections.

·         The percentage of reported fly-tipping, street cleansing and litter bin being emptied had increased significantly.

·         There was still an issue with fly-tipping mainly in black bags where people have dumped their household rubbish

·         Staff wellbeing and welfare remained a priority.

·         During periods of hot weather, staff were encouraged to take frequent breaks and provided with water bottles, hats and sun cream. Bin collections started earlier in the morning and managers were on hand to provide support to staff.


A Member highlighted that it was important that presented figures to include contextual and comparative data where possible. It was asked how the figures were collated as there was a concern that there may be a level of under reporting of issues. Officers advised that the data was collected via the Councils CRM database, the data was traceable and there may even be an element of over reporting experienced.


It was further asked if Veolia, as the contractor, collected any qualitative data. Officers responded that a survey was conducted in March 2019, with 83% of residents indicating they were happy with the collection service. Members asked for a copy of the survey to be circulated after the meeting.


In response to a Member question on whether Veolia operated a locally focused recruitment process and if equality and diversity training was part of staff induction, officers advised that they worked closely with Croydon Works and had a diverse workforce.


A Member asked if street cleansing included gulley’s and drains, and was informed that this was part of the highways contract. It was challenged whether it was reported by Veolia staff when they observed that cleaning was required. Officers responded that staff were encouraged to report, but it was acknowledged that there was not a robust enough system in place to promote reporting amongst staff.


A Member challenged that whilst waste collection figures appeared impressive, in reality some streets shown as collected had not been. Officers said that they had been made aware of problems around incorrect reporting and audit checks had been conducted. There had been some genuine mistakes that had occurred where some crews assumed that another crew had collected which resulted in a reported collection when the collection was still outstanding.


In response to a question on what guidance was in place for new housing developments and their waste provision, officers said that a planning document for all developers on requirements and how to plan their waste provision had been produced and made available to developers.


Information was requested on the take up and collection rate of garden waste. Officers responded that there was currently approximately 20,000 households using the service and the aspiration was for more households to sign up. As it was a seasonal service, there had been no issues  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32/19


Update on the Grounds Maintenance Service pdf icon PDF 319 KB

To receive progress to date following the insourcing of the grounds maintenance service which came back to the Council’s control as an ‘in-house’ service on 1 February 2019.


The Assistant Contract Manager was in attendance to provide an update on the service and the following was noted:

·         The service came back ‘in house’ on 1 February 2019

·         There were currently 23 employees in the service

·         A full service review was planned this year which had happened in some respect but not in totality, with the remainder to happen in the near future.

·         The number of complaints received had reduced.

·         There was still some work to be done on improving the service.

·         The service was understaffed when brought back in-house and agency staff were used, some of them had now converted to permanent council contracts of employment.

·         There was issues with some parks not closing at stipulated time which related to people not wanting to leave the park at the required time.


A Member asked if the use of Glyphosate weed killer had been discontinued as promised. The officer responded that this weed killer was no longer in use and stock purchasing had been stopped.


It was asked what the agreed standards of bin collection was in Croydon’s parks. Officers advised that there were 127 parks in the borough which were graded in terms of footfall. Parks with higher footfall usually had daily bin collection with those with smaller footfall a two weekly collection rate. In the summer months, hot spot teams patrolled the parks and were able to carry out higher frequency bin collections.


A Member questioned if sustainable tools were being purchased. The officer replied that there was currently a review of all stock and material taking place which would include the exploration of responsible use electric vehicles. The service was continually looking at ways to advance and welcomed different ideas and suggestions to improve.


Officers were thanked for attending the meeting and Members looked forward to future updates on progress.


In reaching its recommendations, the sub-committee came to the following CONCLUSIONS:

1.    Officers were thanked for their report

2.    The progress that had been made since the service was brought back ‘in house’ was reassuring.

3.     It was encouraging that the Council had discontinued the use of glyphosate as promised.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To note the Work Programme for the 2019/2020 municipal year.

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It was suggested that an informal meeting take place to discuss the work programme. Possible dates to be circulated to Members after the meeting.


 The Sub-Committee NOTED the work programme for the 2019/2020 municipal ye


Exclusion of the Press and Public

The following motion is to be moved and seconded where it is proposed to exclude the press and public from the remainder of a meeting:


“That, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information falling within those paragraphs indicated in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended.”


This was not required.