Agenda item


To receive an operations update from SERCO.


Katy Bassett, Regional Director (South), Environmental Services, Serco UK & Europe, gave a presentation to the Panel. Katy Basset informed the Panel that Roy Fulton had been appointed as the RBWM contract manager.


Mr John Webb, resident, asked for information about some administrative questions, these would be addressed and resolved offline.


Councillor Bhangra thanked Katie Bassett and asked if SERCO were confident that they would be able to deliver the two weekly collection without any misses as the last change in August 2020 had caused many problems for many months, which had now improved. Councillor Bhangra supported the two-weekly collection. He asked what had been learnt from the last set of issues and was there anything in place to prevent them happening again. Finally, Councillor Bhangra asked if an equality impact assessment had been carried out. Katie Bassett responded that sometimes the most learning could be achieved in the most challenging periods and SERCO had learnt a great deal in the last six to eight months. There were a number of things when SERCO went live with the target operating model in August 2020 that would now be done differently. The main thing was the fluctuation of tonnage that the borough and many other councils across the UK had encountered as a direct consequence of Covid 19. The fluctuations in the borough were acute since the service had been set up in an incredible efficient manner with the twin pack nature of vehicles. SERCO now had twelve months of the fluctuating tonnage data so that underpinned a lot of assumptions. The second point was that the previous change had been carried out in an exceptional timeframe due to other factors. The confidence was currently high as SERCO were now providing more crew over a six day period and meeting all demands and it had also given SERCO a really good platform for starting to plan for the change and think more about the enduring solution for several months. It had been a significant change in service.


With regard to the risk mitigation, there had been a number of changes especially working more closely with the borough. Staff engagement had markedly improved over the last six months. Additional raining before the go-live date had been planned and the team were working closely with drivers and supervisors and taking their views. The go-live date was set in June as there were no bank holidays so there would be no additional changes to the service. The complaints log had given SERCO a really good understanding of the borough. A response to the equality Impact assessment question would be taken away and a response would be sent to Councillor Bhangra.


ACTION: SERCO to provide EQIA information to Councillor Bhangra.


Simon Dale, Interim Head of Highways, added that the plan was to overcome a very complex change in the simplest of terms considering the three C’s; Communications which was critical to this, explaining the change that was going to effect the service as early as possible, Community, they needed to embrace the change and it was so important to find ways to engage people with everything that was taking place. The biggest challenge here was in what ways could this be done. An important resource for getting the message out to the community was through the councillors. It was also important to get the crew informed to make the change occur as smoothly as possible. Simon Dale informed the Panel that there would be some disruption and it was envisaged that this would be over the three months when the change occurred.

Councillor Del Campo asked if the black waste collections had been modelled for fortnightly collection. Simon Dale informed the Panel that the teams were all working towards the report being agreed at Council, as it was, but if there were any changes they would be taken on board.

Councillor Del Campo asked about recycling food waste and what sensible measure could be put into place to try and not waste food at all but anything that was wasted, was recycled. Katie Bassett informed the Panel that a composition analysis could be done and when this was completed for the black bins, over 40% of refuse was contaminated with food waste. This was quite typical. A new initiative was currently being worked on with another council where a citizen-centric design was being developed. This would look at the area and the population of people and come up with solutions and incentive schemes and adoption strategies for people in that area. SERCO had been having discussions with the council to provide this service in the borough.


Councillor G Jones thanked SERCO for the presentation and the improved service. Councillor G Jones commented that it was interesting to see how much recycling improved when general waste collection was reduced. Councillor G Jones asked about the government target for food waste, what was the actual number? Katie Bassett informed the Panel that the actual target for food waste was that by 2025, local authorities were expected to have recycling rates that were 55% on an enduring basis and that by 2035, they were 65%. Katie Bassett explained that recycling was a combination of glass and dry mix recycling including paper, card, plastics and also food waste and green waste.


Councillor Price informed the Panel that there was a special need in Windsor because of Legoland. When the seventh day was introduced and it was a Saturday, it had been pointed out that when Legoland actually opened, there would be a clash with traffic going towards Legoland and all the lorries. It had been suggested that the routes would be changed. Councillor Price asked if this had been included in the plan. Simon Dale informed the Panel that with the reorganisation of the rounds in the summer, that would be considered. But also the team were keeping an eye during the lifting of lockdown and the potential of Legoland reopening in case temporary measures needed to take place. This may include additional crew and vehicles to cover the properties that were collected from on Saturday’s.


Councillor Price continued and asked about the Government waste resource strategy, she asked if we currently had the resources to achieve this and would the plan be presented to the Overview and Scrutiny Panel? Naomi Markham, Waste Strategy Manager, informed the Panel that the council was working within the governments waste and resource strategy and there were national targets. There had been a number of consultations over the last few years to assist to move forward during 2020 but that did not happen because of Covid-19. There would be movement now going forward and the borough would comment on consultations going forward. This could be brought back to the Panel in the future.


Councillor Price informed the Panel that there was an EQIA, number 35 on the website.


Councillor Davey commented that with respect to food waste, you could collect all the food waste in a plastic bag and then put that in the food bin. This was a cleaner way to recycle food.


Councillor Coppinger thanked SERCO and all Officers for all the improvements.


Councillor Stimson commented that the type of bag used to collect food waste did not matter.


The Chairman thanked SERCO and officers.

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