Agenda and minutes

Joint Waste and Recycling Committee - Friday 23rd October 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Remote Meeting

Contact: Julie Hollands 


No. Item



To authorise the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 3 July 2020 as a correct record of the proceedings.


The Chairman was authorised to sign the minutes of the meeting held on 3 July 2020 at a later date as a correct record of the proceedings.


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Simon Crook – Operations Director (Biffa), Roger Edwards – Municipal Managing Director (Biffa), Justin Foster – Waste Team Manager (ESCC), Cameron Morley – Waste and Cleansing Manager (HBC) and Carl Valentine – Head of Transport and Operational Services (ESCC).


Disclosure of Interests

To receive any disclosure by Members of personal and disclosable pecuniary interests in matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the Member regards the personal interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct.  Members are reminded of the need to repeat their declaration immediately prior to the commencement of the item in question.


There were no declarations of interest.


Biffa Update

- To receive a presentation from the Contractor on the Waste Collection, Recycling, Street and Beach Cleaning and Associated Services Contract.


The Senior Business Manager led Members through Biffa’s presentation which provided an update on the Waste Collection, Recycling, Street and Beach Cleaning and Associated Services Contract.  During the presentation the following points were noted:


·       Health and Safety: This was a primary focus for Biffa.  During the period 1 June to 30 September 2020, 702 near misses and hazards were reported, as well as six driving recklessly on pavements and 10 personal injuries.  Out of 16,698 staff working days, the accident rate equated to 0.10%.  The following techniques were applied: increased CCTV monitoring and depot based trainers (x6); promotion of reporting near misses and hazards; toolbox talks; accident investigations completed within six days; revised driver induction process; continuous review of COVID secure measures and safety improvement team meetings.

·       HR Update: From September 2020, there were 17 (10 LGV drivers and seven Loader/Operatives) full-time vacant positions; these positions were currently being covered by agency staff.  Average staff turn-over from June to September 2020 was 2.5%.  The following innovations had been introduced namely electronic time and attendance systems across all locations; additional charge-hand based at St. Leonards supporting Rother services; and employment of a Business Manager within the management team.

·       An updated Organisation Chart was presented which included two new additional positions namely, Business Manager and Charge-hand.

·       Overall collection performance had improved particularly in Rother and Wealden.  Hastings performance was inconsistent and was attributed to several logistical challenges; monitoring would be ongoing.

·       Street cleansing performance had improved, apart from detritus levels which were below target for Wealden.  Monitoring would be on-going.

·       High Speed Road Maintenance Programme had been established and was being successfully executed across the Partnership.

·       Container Deliveries: In August and September 100% of deliveries had been completed within the Service Level Agreement (90% in July).

·       COVID-19: Between July and September 2020, 181 working days had been lost as a result of absence relating to the Coronavirus which had caused an impact on service performance.  Staff displaying symptoms had encountered testing delays, which had caused greater periods of isolation due to uncertainty.  Over the last three months, all employees had tested negative.  Remedial key actions included a full review of the Business Continuity Plan (BCP), improved communications, signage, cleansing regimes and working practices, as well as increased personal protective equipment.

·       Culture Change – Investment: Significant investment would be continued at both St. Leonards and Amberstone depots to improve safety, welfare and office facilities for all staff.  Future plans were in place for Bellbrook.  Monthly safety meetings between client officers and employees continued.  Employee Engagement plans were established and “Champions” elected at each depot.  Improvements had been made to employee communications including a downloadable Biffa Group App, known as Biffa Beat.

·       Contractual Updates: It was confirmed that the Annual Improvement Plan had been submitted, the BCP amended and COVID Variation agreed and signed.


At the conclusion of the presentation, Members had the opportunity to ask questions and the following was noted:


·       Workforce: Assurance was given that all COVID-19 safety measures had been implemented  ...  view the full minutes text for item JWRC20/14.


Service Improvement Planning (Contract Year 2) pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Additional documents:


Biffa’s Annual Services Improvement Plan (ASIP) sought to address how future improvements to services could be made and provided a mechanism for all parties to consider priorities and resources available.  A copy of the ASIP was appended to the report at Appendix 1.


Biffa’s Senior Business Manager comprehensively led the Committee through the ASIP and particularly focused on key improvement and innovation issues.  Several matters required consideration and further clarification.  During the discussion, the following salient points were noted:


·         Recycling Stickers: Recycling Information leaflets with a sticker would be circulated to all households promoting the correct use of the dry recycling system.  It was noted that the leaflet was being funded by East Sussex County Council and the sticker by Biffa.  Members were fully supportive of the sticker scheme.


·         Bulky Waste Booking Process: Operational issues had arisen therefore it was necessary for the Partnership to co-operate with Biffa regarding the on-line booking system.  Accurate information regarding the items to be collected was imperative, to ensure that the service performance was maintained.  Increased resource and / or costs could be warranted.


·         Customer Satisfaction Survey Feedback: Two improvements had been identified by residents namely to provide thicker pink recycling sacks and that paper calendars be discontinued. 


The Joint Waste Partnership Manager advised that 90% of pink recycling sacks were issued in Hastings and 10% in Rother (none in Wealden).  Between July 2019 and June 2020, the Partnership delivered approximately 960,000 pink recycling sacks at a cost of £46,000 per annum.  A common complaint was that the pink recycling sacks were insubstantial.  It was confirmed that the pink recycling sacks were biodegradable and made of recyclable material.  In recent months, the cost of the pink recycling sacks had significantly escalated by 25%, therefore it was agreed that further research on achieving better prices should be carried out prior to upgrading the pink recycling sacks. 


It was important that customer contact migrated to digital on-line formats, however it was thought where significant round changes were implemented, paper calendars should be issued as well.


·         Camber Sands: Over the winter period, Biffa in collaboration with Rother officers, would be investigating alternative containment and management solutions to address the high volume of litter accumulated during seasonal periods.


·         Container Management: The Joint Waste Partnership Manager would be investigating ways to improve container management and reduce costs.  Clarify was sought on container lifespan as this could have significant cost implications for the Partnership.  It was important that robust containers with a suitable range of spare parts were resourced and purchased.


·         Wheeled Bin Cleaning: The Joint Waste Partnership Manager to assess the feasibility and benefits of a collaborative business opportunity across the Partnership and with Biffa.  Once established, it was considered important that the Partnership did not subsidise this service.


·         Sustainability Joint Working Group: Biffa was committed to reducing the carbon impact of services and was keen to support each Councils’ carbon reduction declarations and aspirations towards being carbon neutral by 2030 / 2050.


A general discussion ensued on ways  ...  view the full minutes text for item JWRC20/15.


Financial Position 2020-21 and Budget Provision 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 137 KB


At the last meeting, the Joint Waste and Recycling Committee was advised to make a 2% allowance for inflation on contract costs.  Inflation had now been applied at 1.37% and all bill rates (pricing schedules) had been updated.


The contract costs showed an annual total core budget of £12,727,289.04.  Pending completion of the Procurement Policy Notice 02/20 Variation a credit of £75,286.92 would be credited to the Partnership.


The annual expenditure forecast for 2020/21 was £220,690; this sum was invoiced to the partners once a quarter with Quarter 4 adjusted for actual spend.


The report also highlighted the cost of recoverable items.  The highest spend was in Quarters 1 and 2 (Spring/Summer) and the lowest during Quarters 3 and 4 (Autumn/Winter).  This was attributed to the seasonal fluctuation in garden waste tonnages, as well as the annual renewal process for garden waste subscriptions.


For financial planning purposes, it was recommended that a budget allowance of 1.8%, subject to variation be made for inflation and quantity increases across the Partnership area.  It was also recommended that each council considered local demand for non-core services to ensure that sufficient budget provision was made for 2021/2022.


RESOLVED: That each partner made adequate budget provision with regard to Joint Waste Contract costs for the financial year 2021/22.


UK Environment Bill: Initial Preparations and Consideration of Food Waste Requirements pdf icon PDF 334 KB


Consideration was given to the report of the Joint Waste Partnership Manager which advised Members of matters arising as a result of, the UK Environment Bill (EB) which was currently progressing through Parliament and scheduled to be enacted in Spring 2021.  Several key requirements were scheduled to be implemented by 2023 and the Partnership would need to consider and make decisions during 2021-22 on the service implications.


Members noted that the EB sought to transform how the UK managed waste by enabling powers that would require companies to take more responsibility for the products and materials they placed on the market, especially when they became waste.  It would also introduce a consistent approach to recycling, tackling waste crime, creating powers to introduce bottle deposit return schemes and enabled effective litter enforcement.  It also allowed the introduction of new charges for single use plastic items with the aim that single use was minimised and suitable incentives were created for reusable alternatives.


The Joint Waste and Recycling Committee (JWRC) considered the following key matters which would be required during 2021-22:


·         Deposit Scheme (or Deposit Return Scheme - DRS):  To collect and recycling single use drinks containers e.g. drinks cans and bottles and possibly coffee cups.  Consumers would pay a deposit and get it back if they returned the container.  The report detailed the advantages and disadvantages of introducing a DRS.  The impact on the Partnership would be analysed once further information was known.  To improve income, a suggestion was proposed that the Partnership considered implementing their own DRS.


·         Resource Efficiency: The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) would be responsible for the matrix of policies, plans and targets required to fully implement the principles of the EB.  Local authorities would be required to submit data returns and meet set targets.  The Partnership’s data recording systems were considered capable of providing the required information however there could be a risk regarding insufficient resources to manage this.


·         Consistency: The EB sought to reduce householder confusion regarding what could or could not be recycled.  Members were advised that the Partnership could meet most of the consistency provisions detailed within the EB.


·         Food Waste: Implementation of a new food waste collection service would have policy and budget implications for the Partnership.  Appendix A to the report detailed the specific areas the Partnership would need to consider.  Officers would plan an implementation project and make recommendations as to how the necessary approvals could be achieved once the final EB became law.  Food Collection Services would be implemented from January 2023 and a “tight” timetable of project milestones was detailed within the report.  Members were reminded that the current contract already included provision for the implementation of food waste collections but exemptions to the 2023 implementation date might be offered to local authorities with existing contractual commitments; legal clarification would be sought.  Low-carbon options would be investigated regarding vehicle technologies (electric / hydrogen fleet) etc.  Members were advised that at present food waste was deposited alongside the general waste  ...  view the full minutes text for item JWRC20/17.


Meeting Dates 2021 pdf icon PDF 109 KB


The Committee was required to agree its meeting dates for 2021 as currently there were no dates in place for future meetings.


Due to the fact that each Partner authority published their timetable of meetings at different times of the year, the approach had been taken to ‘set’ dates in advance of all timetables being available.  In order to avoid any other meetings of the Partner authorities, the Joint Waste and Recycling Committee (JWRC) had previously met on a Friday at 10:00am.  It was recommended that the meetings commenced from March/April 2021.  Members were therefore asked to agree Committee dates for 2021 as follows: 26 March; 2 July; 1 October; and 7 January 2022.


As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee agreed the above dates and that meetings be held on MS Teams until such times as the legislation allowing virtual meetings was repealed.


RESOLVED: That the following meeting dates and times be agreed for the Joint Waste and Recycling Committee for 2021:


·         26 March, to be held at 10:00am, on MS Teams;

·         2 July, to be held at 10:00am, on MS Teams (if permitted);

·         1 October, to be held at 10:00am, on MS Teams (if permitted); and

·         7 January 2022, to be held at 10:00am, on MS Teams (if permitted).




Transfer of Administering Authority pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Additional documents:


Members considered the report of the Secretary to the Joint Waste and Recycling Committee which proposed necessary changes to the Partnership’s administering authority.


Due to recent staffing changes at Rother District Council, it was proposed that the Lead Director and contract administration roles transfer to Wealden District Council (WDC).  Within the governance structure of the Partnership, the Leader Director role sat under the Administrative Authority (AA).  It was noted that WDC had offered to take over the role of AA with its associated functions from 1 April 2021.  Financial systems would be established and Transfer of Undertakings [Protection of Employment] (TUPE) arrangements would be implemented for the Joint Waste Office staff.


RESOLVED: That the Joint Waste and Recycling Committee:


1)    recommends to the Partnership Authorities that Rother District Council ceases to act as the Administering Authority for the Joint Waste Partnership from 1 April 2021;


2)    nominate Averil Price, Director of Community and Customer Services at Wealden District Council, as the Lead Director with immediate effect; and


3)    recommends that Wealden District Council be appointed as the Administrative Authority with effect from 1 April 2021.




Date of the Next Meeting

- Friday 8 January 2021, 10:00am.  To be held remotely on MS Teams.


It was confirmed that the next meeting was scheduled to be held remotely on MS Teams on Friday 8 January 2021 at 10:00am.