Agenda item

Matters Arising in Contract Year 2


Members considered the report of the Lead Director which described key matters arising in the second year of the Joint Waste Contract (JWC) with Biffa Municipal Ltd.


The annual expenditure forecast for Administering Authority (AA) costs in 2020/21 was £220,690 which included NI195 monitoring and ICT system developments.  Expenditure remained within budget during 2019/20 and enough provision had been made by the Partnership for 2020/21.


Significant effort had been made to reduce the time customers waited for new or replacement containers.  Stock management and control had improved with the service operating consistently since January 2020.  For the period 29 June 2019 to 31 March 2020, the total cost of containers ordered by Biffa and recharged to the AA was £182,747.35.


Since October 2019, a series of operational changes had been implemented at the Amberstone and Bellbrook depots (Wealden) which had increased productivity and allowed collection rounds to operate more efficiently, with minimal customer impact.  Biffa intend to submit further changes during Year 2 of the contract.  Both Hastings and Rother operations were being analysed; work had started and would be progressed over the summer 2020 period.


The East Sussex Waste Collection Partnership was responsible for ensuring that Biffa staff were appropriately supervised, and vehicles and equipment regularly checked.  In January 2020, the Partnership Manager completed a client safety audit which focused on the safe operation of vehicles.  Results concluded that Biffa had successfully embedded good standards of health and safety awareness and procedures in their operations.  Two minor recommendations were made, both of which had been implemented.  All health and safety related issues were managed and monitored by Biffa and the Partnership and it was proposed that procedures be jointly reviewed and refreshed during 2020/21.


An update position of each individual Partner’s local service preparations was provided as follows:


Hastings Borough Council: Service delivery had been impacted by a number of issues, namely emptying of on-street containers, repeated missed or messy collections and crew behavioural issues.  In most cases service failures had been addressed, however lack of a consistent Operations Manager at the St Leonards depot meant that some issues were still outstanding.  Focus would be placed on operational refinements and increased management to improve service overall.


Rother District Council: As a result of Government restrictions, from late March, both collection and street cleansing services were impacted.  Bulky and garden waste collections were suspended and reinstated on 4 May 2020.  During the lockdown period, collection services and bring site standards improved.  However, volumes of recycling and clothing waste increased at bring sites.  It was hoped that the Salvation Army would resume clothing collections in July.  Street cleansing continued as scheduled across the district.  Since the easing of lockdown normal operations had resumed.  Agency staff were employed to assist with the high volumes of garden waste.  The volumes of litter had increased as visitors returned to the district.  Garden Waste subscriptions had increased by approximately 300 for 2020/21.


Wealden District Council: Collection performance continued to improve, however missed assisted collections required improvement.  Long-term sickness at Wealden’s depots required further management.  Despite a short increase in missed garden waste collections, Biffa coped well with higher than normal volumes of all waste generated during lockdown.  A backlog for container deliveries had arisen over the last 10 weeks; more garden waste bins would be purchased, and additional delivery resources deployed.  Progress had improved regarding street cleansing.  Further work was scheduled throughout the remainder of the year regarding litter picking.  Fly-tip clearance remained good despite challenges with increased incidents at local recycling bring sites.  Bulky and clinical waste collection performance remained consistent.


The JWP Risk Register was maintained as a current document by the JWP Manager and was available to Members on request. The Joint Waste and Recycling Committee noted that one risk was considered ‘very high’ (the financial reconciliation of payments made against services received during the COVID-19 pandemic). There were currently four ‘high risks’, as follows:


·         Biffa cease (or reduce) operations with minimal notice.

·         Loss/reduction of training staff.

·         Extensive use of Agency staff (this had subsequently been de-escalated as reliance on agency staff since middle of June had decreased significantly).

·         Health and Safety of client officers and Biffa supervisory staff.


All risks would be monitored.


RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

Supporting documents: