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Councils in dispute with bin contractor

Councils in dispute with bin contractor

Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 1:11pm 16th July 2019. (Updated at 1:18pm 16th July 2019)

Four Surrey borough councils have served default penalties on rubbish collection contractor Amey as it was also revealed more than 2,500 missed bin collections had been reported in Mole Valley in two months. 

The councils under the Joint Waste Solutions partnership say Amey "has not met contract specifications" and are considering pursuing "formal disciplinary" action, a meeting heard. 

Joint Waste Solutions was formed to manage the waste collection contract with Amey for Elmbridge, Mole Valley, Surrey Heath and Woking borough and district councils.

The contract covers household waste, recycling, garden, clinical and commercial waste.

Other services included in the contract are street sweeping, bin emptying and fly-tipping removal. 

The dispute between the councils and Amey involves the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and the data collected to determine whether these are being met. 

But Amey said the figures quoted were before an audit of missed bins collections was carried out and it had a first time collection rate of more than 99% for April, May, June and continuing into July.

Speaking at Mole Valley District Council meeting on July 9, councillor Claire Malcomson, cabinet member for environment, said: 

"Since the contract was first mobilised in 2017 there have been times Amey has not met the contract specifications. 

"Consequently default penalties have been served on the contractor. 

"They are however being disputed and negotiations are ongoing with Amey to find a resolution".

Earlier in the meeting she revealed that since May 1 this year in a two month period, Mole Valley’s figures show there had been 2,523 reported missed bin collections. Most of these were in the north of the borough. There had been around 722,000 refuse collections in total. 

She said the four councils are also concerned about the contractor’s use of data to "inform" its KPIs. 

Cllr Malcomson added: 

"The partner councils are not satisfied that the contractor’s data used to inform the KPIs is robust and accurate -  a view that has been endorsed by independent auditors.

"It’s not considered prudent to publish KPIs until we can be confident that the data underpinning them is accurate and agreed with the contractor. 

"If this cannot be achieved consideration will be given to a formal disciplinary process."

A statement released by Amey in response to what was revealed in the meeting said: 

"We acknowledge we had difficulties with collections during May and June and apologise to Mole Valley residents for any inconvenience caused.

"Since then, we have met with Mole Valley Council and have made significant improvements. 

"Our records show we have a first time collection rate of over 99% for April, May and June, continuing into July.

"Our aim is always to provide the best possible service to the community".

A spokesman said the missed collections were in reality significantly lower than the level quoted and that missed collection figures stated were prior to the reconciliation and audit of the missed bin data. 

Joint Waste Solutions is governed by the Joint Waste Collection Services Committee. 

A spokesman for Joint Waste Solutions said: "All large contracts of this type have KPIs specified and default penalties which need to be paid if they are not met.

"At the moment we have differing views about the data that informs the KPIs and are in ongoing discussions with Amey to resolve this."


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