Top

Top

Agenda Item No. 4

 

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT): 7TH OCTOBER 2014

 

REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 28 JULY 2014

 

C2421      'XFOR’ ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT SERVICES TRIAL – 30 JULY 2012 – 20 MAY 2013 (EVS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) –

 

Cabinet were apprised of the outcome of the environmental enforcement trial, utilising 'XFOR', to support Council Enforcement Officers in tackling offences of littering and dog fouling.

 

Cabinet on the 14 March, 2012 (Minute No. C1661) resolved to deploy XFOR for a 12 month trial which included a 6 month review.

 

The Council employed three officers on a permanent basis with responsibility for environmental enforcement.  Whilst a considerable amount of their time was spent on raising awareness amongst residents and businesses, they do issue a number of Fixed Penalty Notice’s (FPN’s) each year.  In 2011 / 2012 they issued 5 for dog fouling, 63 for littering and 3 for smoking related littering.  In 2012 / 2013 the numbers were 10, 53 and 9 for each category and so far this year the numbers are 3, 43 and 0.  Even with a significant change in focus our own staff were unlikely to ever reach the enforcement ticketing levels of a private organisation set up specifically for such a purpose.

 

XFOR commenced their enforcement patrols in the Vale, in respect of litter and dog fouling, on 30 July, 2012 and continued their 'no tolerance' enforcement work with varying staffing levels for approximately 10 months.  The trial ended prematurely on 20 May, 2013 with XFOR having issued 1,665 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) of £75 to residents and visitors guilty of the offences of littering or dog fouling. Details of XFOR's activity over the trial period are shown below:

 

 

 

Litter

Dog Fouling

 1

No. of fixed penalties issued 

 

1655

 

10

 2

No. of fixed penalties paid

 

1196

 

6

 3

Amount Collected (£)

 

£89716

 

£450

 

 

 

Although XFOR initially commenced the service with a total of 4 Enforcement Officers plus 1 Administrative Officer, they did experience some staff turnover problems and at times only operated with 2 Enforcement Officers plus an Administrative Officer. At the end of the trial they operated with a staff level of 2 Enforcement Officers only. This resulted in a reduced numbers of FPNs being issued.

 

To have been fully cost effective over the 12 month trial, XFOR needed to issue approximately 3,000 FPNs. From Table 1 above it could be seen that they issued 1665 in the 10 months they operated. XFOR's decision to reduce their resources operating within the Vale was not adequately explained at the time and was clearly at odds with their need to recover their costs.

 

Of the 1665 FPNs issued, 72% were paid, discharging the offender's legal liability to prosecution.  Approximately 7% of fines issued were taken through Court for non-payment. This process involved a considerable amount of officer time. 

 

Matters were raised as unacceptable with senior managers within XFOR.  They refused to increase their resources and served the Council with a 7 day 'Termination Notice' prematurely ending the trial on 20 May, 2013 approximately 2 months short of the agreed trial period.

 

There was no doubt that the trial, and its related publicity, significantly raised awareness amongst residents and visitors of the consequences of littering in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

The trial ended on 20 May, 2013 and a Keep Wales Tidy (KWT) Local Environment (LEAMS) survey for the Vale of Glamorgan carried out between 31 October and 14 November, 2013 showed: 

  • the then Cleanliness Indicator (CI) for the Vale of Glamorgan was 70.9. This was the highest recorded by KWT since their surveys began and notably above the all Wales figure of 67.6 and a significant improvement on the figure of 66.9 achieved during 2012;
  • dog fouling affected 7.8% of streets in the Vale, an improvement on the figure of 11.6% from 2012 and a figure that compared very favourably to the then all Wales figure of 13.8%;
  • graffiti had dropped from 11.6% in 2012-13 to 5.8% in 2013-14, taking it below the then all Wales figure of 11.9%.

However, the report confirmed that the most common litter issue facing the Vale of Glamorgan, and indeed Wales as a whole, was still the presence of smoking-related litter (SRL); predominantly cigarette ends. SRL was encountered on 73.8% of the streets surveyed. The presence of SRL nevertheless was below the all Wales level, which stood at 86.9%. Confectionary litter was found on 45.6% of streets and drinks litter on 26.2%. Fast food litter was recorded on 17.5% of streets.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the outcome of the ‘XFOR’ Environmental Enforcement Services trial be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T delegated authority be granted to the Director of Visible Services and Housing, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Visible Services, to invite expressions of interest from private environmental enforcement companies able to provide litter and dog fouling enforcement services in the Vale.

 

(3)       T H A T the Director of Visible Services and Housing gives consideration to the possibility of extending the duties of Civil Parking Enforcement Officers to include Environmental Enforcement in the future.

 

(4)       T H A T on conclusion of resolutions (2) and (3) above, a further report be provided to Cabinet detailing the full costs of all available future options for improved environmental enforcement.

 

(5)       T H A T the report be referred to Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) for information.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To note the contents of the report.

 

(2)       To establish what private enforcement options are currently available to the Council.

 

(3)       To investigate if amalgamating the duties of environmental enforcement officers and Civil Parking Enforcement Officers is a viable option.

 

(4)       To obtain all the necessary information required to enable Cabinet to take a decision on this matter for the future.

 

(5)       To ensure that the relevant Scrutiny Committee was kept suitably informed.

 

 

 

Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 28 JULY 2014

 

Share on facebook Like us on Facebook