Agenda Item No. 6
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 20 May, 2014
Report of the Director of Visible Services and Housing
Waste Management and Cleansing - Proposed Changes to Waste Collection and Recycling in the Vale of Glamorgan
Purpose of the Report
1. To advise Committee of the implications of changes to the Council's waste collection and recycling services necessary to assist in delivering a balanced budget for 2014/15.
1. That Committee note the details of the service changes and the minimal affect they will have on service delivery standards, customers and employees.
Reason for the Recommendation
1. To ensure that Committee are kept informed of the implications of recent budget reductions in this service area.
2. This report is provided in response to a request for consideration from Councillor Ian Johnson. It also seeks to address, in part, a request from the Chair of this Committee for details on the impact of budget reductions on front-line services within the Directorate.
3. A number of changes to waste collection arrangements, including proposals for 'double - shifting,' for certain collections, were agreed by Cabinet at its meeting of 24th February 2014, as part of the 2014/15 Revenue Budget setting process (Minute C2212 refers).
4. The details of the savings proposals agreed for the Waste Management and Cleansing Division are as follows:-
(i) double shifting of existing Refuse Collection Vehicles (RCVs);
(ii) taking the Household Bring Sites provision services in house and reducing the number of banks in service;
(iii) the removal of a refuse collection 26 tonne (RCV) from the residual black bin bag collection service;
(iv) ditto small 'pick-up' collection vehicle;
(v) ditto 26 and 7.5 tonne RVCs and replace with a single 15 tonne RCV from the residual black bin bag collection service;
(vi) non-recruitment of one frontline Works Supervisor and Waste Awareness Officer within WM&C Team;
(vi) limit the provision of kitchen food caddy liner bags to 3 per week to all participation households within the Vale of Glamorgan;
(vii) the removal of a 'pick-up vehicle from the street cleansing fleet;
(viii) rationalise coastal staffing with a subsequent reduction of 1 FTE;
(ix) the removal a mechanical sweeper from the street cleaning service;
(x) the reduction of the street-care service by one vehicle and 2 FTEs;
(xi) the removal of a Food Waste RCV from the kitchen food collection service;
Relevant Issues and Options
5. The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) Waste Finance benchmarking Project 2012-13 which comprise financial details from all 22 Welsh local authorities found that the Vale of Glamorgan Council's overall net expenditure on household waste services (Residual, Dry recycling, Organic, CA and Bring sites) for 2012/13 was £8,142,816; which represents an expenditure of £147 per household per annum (£2.83 per household per week). When compared with the other local authorities in Wales on a per household basis, the Vale of Glamorgan are ranked as 3rd lowest cost authority (median expenditure per household is £181, lowest expenditure £120). The overall expenditure on household waste services has fallen by 0.6% when compared to 2011/12.
6. Although it is obvious from the WLGA's findings above that we are already providing an extremely cost effective service to our stakeholders, on-going reductions in the base budget for the Directorate requires additional savings in service costs to assist in ensuring a balanced budget going forward. The aim in making such savings is always to try to protect services to our residents wherever possible, utilising new technology and more efficient working practices.
7. Following considerable work analysing the existing services, areas were identified where there was capacity to make further efficiency savings.
8. In terms of new technology, vehicle tracking was introduced in April this year, which allows all cleansing vehicle operations to be monitored. All routes are now being optimised with any inefficiency addressed. This has enabled the fleet size to be reduced and such reductions will continue as learning from the system increases. In addition, though not mentioned in the savings proposals, facial and fingerprint recognition technology was introduced in April for the time recording of all staff within the Directorate. The Directorate is one of the first is Wales to utilise this technology to manage the timekeeping of both office based and front-line staff. The implementation of these systems will allow the existing collection routes to be reconfigured resulting in a reduction in collection vehicle numbers. This work alone has led to the savings identified in 4 (iii), (iv), (v), (vii) (ix), (x) and (xi) above, with no impact on the existing service provision or on any of our householders or other stakeholders.
9. There were also no direct staffing implications for those affected by any of the proposals stated in paragraph 4 above, given that WM&C Division operate with an 'agency' employee pool. Employees displaced from their previous roles by the reduction in vehicles have, and will be, absorbed within similar positions currently occupied by agency staff.
10. The 'double-shifting' proposal, (i) in paragraph 4, only applies to the green waste collection service which, due to its seasonal nature, is staffed by agency employees working on an afternoon shift pattern basis. The only service impact in respect to this change is that householders will have their green waste collected later in the day than was previously the case.
11. There is no service impact as a consequence of the servicing of brings banks being brought back in house, (ii) in paragraph 4, other than the collection services being improved. Although the full revision of bring sites provision which is shortly to be considered by Cabinet, could result in a reduction in the future number of bring banks.
12. Whilst the vacant post non-recruitment, (iv) (viii) paragraph 4, could have some impact on the ability to deliver future waste awareness campaign, the efficiency measures being put in place with the WM&C Division will result in no overall adverse impact on our customers.
13. The limiting of free bags for kitchen food waste caddies to 3 per week from October 1st 2014 (vi), will help control expenditure in this area and the arrangements for this will be the subject of a future report to Cabinet. Additional bags will be available for a small fee and the corn starch bags used are now stocked by some supermarkets.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
14. As stated above there are no direct staffing implications and the savings obtained will assist in attempting to deliver a balanced 2014/15 budget out-turn for Waste Management & Cleansing.
15. WG funding for 2014/15, through their Sustainable Waste Management Grant, is £2,548,722. Future grant allocations will decrease to that of previous years and this will prove challenging in budgetary terms, given that the landfill tax will continue to increase by approximately £8 / tonne per year. Such financial demands will mean that service changes will continue, however it will not always be possible, due to the gravity of the financial pressures, to protect our residents or staff from the impact of these changes.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
16. Efficient waste collection and recycling services support the principle of sustainable development. Fuel use can be reduced by better route optimisation and this reduces the impact of our operations on the environment.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
17. There are no legal implications as the saving will not impact on the Council's statutory duties in provision of its Waste Management services.
Crime and Disorder Implications
18. There are no crime and disorder implications from this report.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
19. There are no equal opportunity implications as a result of this report as Waste Management and Cleansing services are provided to all householders.
20. Outcome: Current and future generations of Vale residents and visitors enjoy the built and natural environments of the Vale of Glamorgan and actively protect and maintain them.
Minimising our impact on the environment:
E1 Work with a range of partners to provide appropriate residual and recycling collection treatment and disposal services and achieve national recycling target of 58%. (2015/16)
Policy Framework and Budget
21. This report is consistent with the policy framework and budget.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
22. As this matter relates to the Vale of Glamorgan as a whole, no individual Ward Members have been consulted.
Clifford Parish - Operational Manager Waste Management and Cleansing - Tel: 02920 673220.
Accountant - Visible Services
Legal - Committee Reports
Miles Punter - Director of Visible Services and Housing.