Staff get wage boost, better performance for bin collections, fly tippers hit hard and recycling up: end of year report from East Cambs Council
- Credit: Archant
Staff employed directly by East Cambridgeshire Council on its waste and street scene contract enjoyed a pay rise last year of between £2,200 and £3,800.
HGV drivers saw their average wage rise by £2,200 a year; operatives got a £2,800 a year rise whilst drivers/operatives were in line for a rise of £3,800.
The figures are revealed in a report to councillors by James Khan, head of Street Scene.
He said the payments were linked to both individual performance and overall company performance.
"This is set to drive employees towards excellence and continued growth of the service," he said.
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It was more than a year ago that East Cambridgeshire Council decided to manage its own waste services.
It felt that it could generate income from this through its own trading arm - East Cambridgeshire Street Scene (ECSS) - which could then be ploughed back into the community.
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"In fact, £240,000 was saved alone through not having to go through unnecessary procurement processes," said a council spokesman.
"It has been a smart move. And 12 months down the line the Bringing the Waste Home drive has made the district a shining example to others."
The council says its refuse collection service now has a performance rate of 93.2 per cent - up from 46 per cent. The recycling collection service has improved; it is now 96.2 per cent - up from 53 per cent.
And the garden waste collection service is operating at an incredible 99 per cent - up from 49 per cent - while the bulky and clinical collection service is performing at 95 per cent 79%.
Councillor Julia Huffer, service delivery champion for waste service, said: "We have become a district of recyclers and have won awards for our work connecting with the younger generation - those who are going to benefit from our efforts now and who will have responsibility for maintaining them in the future."
There has been a succession of changes made to waste services to enable residents to recycle more, including the introduction of an optional second blue recycling bin for a one-off payment of £25. Having it emptied is completely free.
Council leader Anna Bailey said: "Bringing the Waste Home is a play on words. We manage our own waste services here - at home - in East Cambridgeshire. But the responsibility for waste lands on all of our doorsteps. We have collective responsibility. We all have a role to play."
This message is underlined by a push to support local initiatives, aimed at cleaning and keeping the streets of the district clean.
One of these has been working with the Chewing Gum Action Group, to clear discarded gum from the streets.
"This has contributed to boosting the street cleansing performance rate to 72 per cent up from a horrific 17 per cent April 2018," she said. .
Steve Foreman, HGV driver said "I feel the service provided to the residents has improved in the last year.
"While out on my runs I see less full litter bins and the district feels cleaner. Since East Cambs Street Scene has taken over I have noticed a substantial decrease in the number of missed bins reported".
Mr Khan said that to underpin the improvements that were made within the first six months of service a restructure of the waste and street cleansing service was commissioned.
He said this has resulted in employing skilled, qualified and experienced staff able to drive performance and develop the service.
"A valued workforce forms a pivotal part of delivering success and improvements," he said.
"Because of this, the last 12 months have seen a comprehensive pay review be undertaken with results ensuring that our operational employees are paid a fair rate for the work they do."
Mr Khan said the council had invested heavily in its cleaning service that included buying two new high spec 18 tonne road sweepers.
"These new vehicles, heavily supported by new schedules, has and will ensure we keep our streets clean and have the best tools for the right job," he said.
"Promoting waste reduction and recycling is crucial to not only increasing the recycling rate within the district but doing our part to provide a sustainable environment to live in."
He praised social media coverage of the council's Michael Recycle campaign for sharing information far and wide.
"The council's commitment to purge on plastic has seen waste collection points for both crisp packets and coffee pods, due to the fact that they currently cannot be recycled within the kerb side collection, introduced in the council office foyer. We are committed to providing services to our residents that promote sustainability and will continue to seek new ways to reduce the waste we send to landfill," he said
"East Cambs has a thriving, well utilised and economical bulky waste collection.
"Providing this service to residents' helps in the reduction of fly tipped waste spoiling and harming the district. To further support this service and harness its potential, last year we were able to double the frequency of collections."
Mr Khan said a dedicated collection round dealing with litter and dog waste bins has allowed for an increase in service excellence.
"This implementation has seen an approximate reduction in recorded reports of litter bins requiring collection by 74 per cent (figures taken from May 18 and April 19)".
He said efforts to crackdown on fly tipping and waste had seen four fixed penalty notices issued in the past six months for fly tipping. Four for litter and another court case involving multiple fly tipping offences.
"These successful outcomes will act as a deterrent to future offenders that East Cambridgeshire does not tolerate fly tipping and we will act accordingly," he said.