This report details the arrangements for the forthcoming South London Waste Contract with Veolia, and the improvement it will have on Croydon’s existing services, the governance arrangements for the new contract and the investment being made in environmental services prior to the commencement of the new contract.
The Sub-Committee received a presentation from officers which can be found in the Presentations supplement.
The Veolia representatives stressed that the issues experienced in the London Borough of Sutton were due to it being a large scale change taking place on a single day; including the transfer of 330 staff, new vehicles and new technology being introduced. Members were assured that lessons had been learnt and that the contractor would not attempt such a large scale change in one day.
Members were informed that the new vehicles would be arriving in Croydon three months early and would be introduced one at a time so that any faults could be identified and rectified. Furthermore, the street cleaning kit would be delivered ahead of the contract start date.
The Sub-Committee were informed that Veolia were working to have flat waste collections on the same day which would not be day with bank holidays, and that work was underway to review the communications that were to be sent to residents so it was more descriptive.
While it was acknowledged there had been issues with the introduction of new technology in Sutton, the Echo system had been used by the teams in Croydon for some time. Additionally, Veolia had all the data on waste collections as it had been shared by the Council and that performance monitoring had already been undertaken. While it was acknowledged by Veolia that there would be challenges with the roll out of the new contract it was noted that performance in Sutton had been higher than expected after three months.
Members queried whether Christmas trees would be collected from the kerbside this season and were informed by the Director of Streets that discussions were taking place with Veolia as to whether the introduction could be brought forward. However, the community collection points would be in place if the kerbside collection could not be introduced.
The Sub-Committee were informed that there were a number of KPIs with the new contract including; flytips to be cleared within 24 hours, no more than 30 missed collection per 100,000, and streets to be cleaned to a grade A and maintained to be grade B. The Director of Streets agreed to share the KPIs within the redacted contract with Members.
In response to Member questions officers stated that the Council had made a recent investment of new equipment which would be used by Veolia, however the payback had been the improvements to the service including additional afternoon collections and improved street cleaning. Members were assured that the equipment had not been bought for the benefit of the boroughs within the South London Waste Partnership, and that a decision had been made across the Partnership to invest in new kit.
Officers noted that the literature and communication of the new street cleaning standard would be important as residents were used to a frequency service and the new service would be concentrated on the standard of street cleanliness. As such it was felt that pictures showing the expected level of cleanliness would be integral to the communication. The Sub-Committee were assured that officers would work with Veolia to monitor the level of deterioration of street cleanliness and that there was some flexibility within the contract to provide more resourcing, if required. While officers would review the cleanliness through visits and spot checks, feedback from the public and councillors would also assist in ensuring the standard was met.
Veolia representatives stated that when a leaf lost its structure and shape it became litter and that the leafing plan was not deployed until as late as possible so as to make best use of resources. Members were informed that there was a separate resource that was deployed for ten weeks to deal with leaves.
Members queried how the new contract would resolve the issue of plastic and bottles being scattered down the road due to box lids being lost and were informed that the additional bin for paper would free up another box that could be used for plastics. Furthermore Veolia were looking at alternative containers for those who had limited space for bin storage. The Sub-Committee were also informed that if the teams collecting the bins caused a spillage then they were expected to clear it, however if they found spillage on the road then they were expected to call in the street cleaners.
The Sub-Committee were informed that there would be the introduction of battery collections within the new contract and that residents would need to present them on top of their bin in a clearly marked, or clear, bag.
Communication was recognised as being an important aspect of ensuring the new contract was a success and would be rolled out in the new year. It was intended that the literature would be more picture tutorial rather than having leaflets in a number of languages as it had been found to be more successful in other boroughs.
Recycling and waste collections in flats was discussed and officers stated that having different coloured bags for those without communal bins would assist. The bags would be delivered annually through Amazon to ensure that they were signed for and could not be stolen, and would include literature on which bags to use and when to present the bags. Discussions were being had on how to manage requests for further bags.
Members noted that often the bin storage areas in flats were extremely dirty and that put residents off from properly recycling. Veolia stated that if the dirt was created by them then they would clear it up, however it was not their responsibility to clean general dirt rather it was the responsibility of the property managers. Veolia would, however, work with the properties to identify which residents were causing the issue and would engage with them. While it was noted that many residents did not like touching the lids of the large euro bins and would often put their bags beside the bins there was not currently an alternative bin available to roll out but it would be reviewed. The Sub-Committee were also informed that food waste containers would be cleaned as part of the contract.
In reaching its recommendations, the Sub-Committee made the following
The Sub-Committee RESOLVED to recommend to Cabinet that: