Council ordered to give resident bin free of charge by Ombudsman

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has ruled in favour of a resident in a dispute over recycling collections with Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council. 

BCP council has been responsible for waste services in Bournemouth and Christchurch since April 2020 (picture: BCP council)

In a recent investigation, the Ombudsman has found fault with the council’s handling of bin provision, following a complaint from Ms Y and was ordered to provide her with a standard size bin free of charge. 

The investigation revealed discrepancies in the council’s communication regarding bin charges and entitlements, leading to confusion and frustration for residents. 

Ms Y, who moved to her new residence in September 2023, discovered that her recycling bin was smaller than the standard size for the area. Upon consulting the council’s website, which indicated that residents are entitled to a 240-litre recycling bin, she reached out to the council for assistance. 

 However, she received conflicting information regarding the cost of obtaining a new bin, ranging from £45 to £55, and was later informed that she would have to pay unless she met specific exemption criteria. 

The Ombudsman’s investigation revealed that while the council’s waste services policies report outlined a standard bin replacement policy, there was ambiguity regarding charges for new residents. The council’s website lacked clarity on whether new residents with smaller bins would be required to pay for a standard-sized replacement. 


Consequently, the Ombudsman determined that the council’s communication was “inadequate”, causing Ms Y to feel unfairly treated. To address the issue and prevent similar occurrences in the future, the council has agreed to take remedial action. 

As part of the agreed measures, the council will provide Ms Y with a standard-sized recycling bin free-of-charge within one month. Additionally, within three months, the council will review and amend its guidance, website and policies to clarify the conditions under which new residents with smaller bins may be charged for a standard-sized replacement. 

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