East Cambridgeshire district council has confirmed that staff transferring from Veolia to the council’s East Cambs trading company will retain their ‘existing conditions’, when the council brings its waste collections service in-house next year.
The council is also to produce an “operations bible” based on Veolia operations after a review.
And this week the authority announced that it will sell residents a second blue bin for recycling for £25 as one of the benefits of bringing “our waste service back in-house”. Residents have also been advised that for the second bin, there will be “no additional cost for it to be emptied” with the message: “Ramp up your recycling rate with a second blue bin – and at no extra cost for having it emptied!”
Earlier this year, the council announced its plans to bring collections in-house when its current contract with Veolia ends next Spring (2018) – (see letsrecycle.com story).
The new collections and street cleansing services will be carried out by the council’s local authority trading company (LATC), East Cambs Trading Company (ECTC). The company secretary and director is Emma Grima, director of commercial and corporate services at the council. Other directors include Cllr Anne Bailey, council chief executive John Hill and council leader Cllr Charles Roberts.
Chairman of the trading company is Dr Paul Remington, who according to the authority has a “PhD in economics, and who has worked and advised on large financial projects worldwide within both the public and private sectors”. Last year Dr Remington told the authority that the company will “help to create a more confident, competent, commercially astute internal staff, used to making more financial decisions and analysing risks, which will add to the overall effectiveness and capabilities of the council in fulfilling their roles”.
In the year to March 2017, the LATC, which was involved with housing and grounds maintenance, reported total losses of £405,035 and owes its parent (the council) £1.04 million. But, under accounting rules it does not have to show details of transactions with the authority and has “taken advantage” of this.
In a progress report submitted to the Regulatory Services Committee, the council notes that the implementation plan for the TUPE transfer of the Veolia staff to ECTC is now being implemented.
TUPE rules apply to organisations of all sizes and protect employees’ rights when the organisation or service they work for transfers to a new employer.
When contacted by letsrecycle.com, in regards to whether staff would retain the same pensions as they receive from Veolia, Jo Brooks, director of operations for East Cambridgeshire district council, said: “The Council has not received the detailed TUPE information from Veolia and this information is sensitive to the individuals subject to transfer and cannot be readily disclosed.
“However, it is the council’s stated intention to meet the existing conditions of service of the staff that transfer into the trading company of the council as part of the in-sourcing of the services.”
When asked about the planned savings to be made from bringing the service in-house, Ms Brooks added: “First and foremost the purpose of the in-sourcing of the waste and street cleansing services is to improve the current quality of services delivered to residents in the District but the service will be managed with a commercial focus to ensure all efficiencies are realised for re-investment into Council services.”
In the progress report, the council claims the new partnership with the ECTC puts in place a more ‘flexible relationship’ than the current client and contractor relationship (with Veolia).
According to the report, the council’s waste team will review all current Veolia operational procedures and processes and look to drive the “necessary reorientation on the customer.”
The council said: “The outputs from this work will create the ‘operations bible’ of adopted or amended Veolia procedures and processes so that on 1 April 2018, ECTC have documented policies and procedures to hit the ground running and remove the risk of operational service delivery failures.”
The council has also put forward a revised policy around fly-tipping. The local authority reports there were 18 incidents of ‘large scale’ flytipping (out of a total of 215 reported incidents) in 2016/17.
“The outputs from this work will create the ‘operations bible’ of adopted or amended Veolia procedures”
The council said for these instances, no enforcement action was taken and Veolia was recorded as not having cleared seven incidents of flytipping (3.4%). The council said this is ‘not acceptable’ and that the duration for clearance is three working days.
“Furthermore Customer Services operatives often record incidents as a single item even when they are reported in detail as black bags of waste,” the council said. The Authority claims this could potentially be ‘masking’ missed collections of residual waste.
“From the 1st April 2018 active on-site monitoring of the waste service will be carried out to ensure this is not the prime cause of such reports of flytipping,” the council said.
The council said fly-tipping on public land will be removed within 2 full working days of it being reported where possible.
Second blue bin
With regard to the second blue bin, on Monday (6 November), Cllr Julia Huffer, service delivery champion for waste services, said: “Residents have been telling us for a long time that they want an extra blue bin and I am thrilled to say that from April next year we are able to offer that option. For a one-off fee of £25 any household that wants one can order a second blue bin, which we will then empty at the same time as the first blue bin, at no additional charge. When other Councils are introducing additional charges for waste collection we are really proud to be able to offer this service to our residents in this way.”
The decision was given the green light at Monday’s regulatory services committee. The Chairman of the Committee and Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Anna Bailey said: “This is one of the benefits of bringing our waste service back in house; by delivering the service through the Council’s trading company we are able to have a much more flexible approach. We really hope that residents who find themselves putting blue bin waste into black bags will take up this offer from April next year and help East Cambs to increase its recycling rate and get past that 60% target.”