Agenda item

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; week commencing 24 February 2020, Biffa re-invigorated its health and safety programme by launching Safer Together which aimed to improve all standards of safety.    The following techniques were applied: increased CCTV monitoring; crew and gate checks; promotion of reporting misses and hazards; toolbox talks; accident investigations completed within six days; and safety improvement team meetings.  During the first year of the contract 766 near misses and hazards were reported, as well as 10 accidents.  Out of 54,240 staff working days the accident rate equated to 0.02%, this was extremely low.

·         HR Update: As of June 2020, there was 24 (90%) full-time vacant positions.  Recruitment was actively on-going and 11 new employees were scheduled to start in July.  Expectations were that 100% full complement of staff would be achieved.  Average staff turn-over from January 2020 to date was 0.8%.  In February 2020, overall 33% of staff had completed an employee engagement score.  This was lower than anticipated, however not totally unexpected as culture change took time to embed.  Engagement plans were on-going including promotion of Biffa Beat App, incentive bonuses, loader to driver scheme and investment opportunities e.g. individual development planning, LGV and CPC management training etc.

·         An updated Organisation Chart was presented which included Simon Crook, Business Director and Fabrice Bouchon, Regional Manager.

·         Overall collection performance had improved by 30% however there was a slight decrease in performance regarding Rother’s garden waste collection.  This was attributed to less knowledgeable staff and was currently being addressed; monitoring would be ongoing:


Missed Collections

Per 100,000





















·         Street cleansing performance had improved in Wealden.  Results of Rother’s NI195 surveys were still awaited.

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

·         As a result of COVID-19, the following issues had arisen namely absence levels increased beyond the agreed Business Continuity Plan (BCP) thresholds however services continued; in March absence levels peaked at 27% therefore certain services were suspended; garden waste services recommenced on 23 April; on 4 May absence levels reduced which triggered re-instatement of all previously suspended services; and 13% absence levels were being managed/monitored.  COVID secure measures were implemented at each operational site/depot and negotiations commenced with the Partnership regarding reconciliation of service suspension.  Remedial actions included a full review of the BCP, absence levels and local authority respective thresholds, as well as implications of seasonality and client preferences.

·         Route Optimisation:

Hastings – data validation was required to optimise resources and all service implications would be discussed with the local supervising officer before implementation.

Rother – data validation had commenced regarding existing collection schedules and Biffa intended to remove evening crews with minimal disruption.

Wealden – successfully removed two of the three additional supporting crews deployed by the previous contractor.

·         The following social values and commitments had been completed or were planned: 30 community litter picks between January and May 2020; supporting Great British Spring Clean by donating 125 litter pickers, 75 bag hoops and 200 pair of gloves; and Biffa Awards.  Apprenticeships and bulky reuse collections were currently suspended.

·         ICT: Continued to self-audit, invest and improve/upgrade ICT ‘Whitespace’ system.

·         Across the Partnership an annual resident satisfaction survey had been completed; in total 1,324 (10%) responses had been received.

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


·         Assurance was given that multiple missed bin collections would be addressed and continually monitored.

·         It was clarified that the last litter collection serve at beach/seafront locations across the Partnership was 8pm at peak times of the year.  Over the last few months litter collection had been a significant challenge for Biffa.  Collection rounds would be reviewed, where appropriate and monitoring would be on-going.

·         Staffing: Assurance was given that Biffa was actively recruiting to fill all vacant positions and training on-going to develop extensive local knowledge.

·         COVID-19 infections: Only a few staff had been affected; all health and safety measures had been implemented to ensure the workforce was fully protected.

·         High Speed Routes: Service performance had improved particularly along the A22, A26 and A259; it was important to implement a regular schedule to maintain/uphold standards.

·         Biffa was thanked and congratulated on their continued efforts to ensure that the waste and cleansing services were successfully delivered during these unprecedented times.  


Biffa thanked the Partnership for their support over the last few months and re-iterated their commitment to maintaining and improving service performance across the Partnership.


RESOLVED: That the presentation be noted.