Agenda item

Refuse, Recycling and Street Cleansing Contract Overview

This report provides an overview on waste collection and street cleansing in the borough.


Simon Davis, Assistant Director for Contracts and Procurement introduced the report and provided an overview of the waste management and street cleansing services in the borough. These services provided front-line services to residents, businesses, and visitors to the borough. The efficiency and effectiveness with which these were delivered had an impact on residents’ quality of life, and the Council’s overall ability to deliver a ‘cleaner, greener’ borough.


Serco managed a collection of domestic waste from approximately 80,000 residential properties. Missed collections were resolved within 24 hours and good behaviour was also factored in as part of their responsibility as a contractor. Furthermore, as part of the borough’s clear all policy, Serco proactively removed unreported fly tips, dog fouling and litter. The streets in the borough were some of the cleanest in London with over 96% of streets being kept to an acceptable standard of cleanliness.


The key service standards for street cleaning were outlined. These were to achieve a high standard of cleanliness after each cleanse and remove reported fly tips within 48 hours. In addition, it was also essential to attend emergency responses within one hour.


Referring to page 45 of the agenda pack, Simon Davis provided an overview on the current KPI performance. These were measured against the requirements set out in the contract and noted that improvements were achieved compared to 2017/18. The Council set out the aspiration to be working towards the upper quartile performance for cleanliness and recycling rates in London.


Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler asked how the success of the KPI’s were measured. In response, Simon Davis clarified that a lower figure indicated a better performance.


Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler commented that the customer satisfaction indicator was removed and asked for further clarification around why and when this change took place. The Committee also requested that further information be provided around who carried out the street cleanliness inspections.

Action: Simon Davis/ Lesley Gates


The Chair asked whether the Council kept a record of the complaints received by the residents. In response, Simon Davis explained that missed collections and fly tipping were recorded on the Council’s system and responded to within the proposed timescales.

The Chair asked for further clarification around what action was being taken by the Council to ensure that Serco would deliver the planned contract improvements. Simon Davis explained that the contract had become out-dated and needed to be refreshed to meet the current requirements of the Council. This would be achieved through a reprocurement exercise when the contract expired in 2020/21. To progress change over the remaining life of the contract, a plan had been established and fed back to Serco. The Council were engaging with Serco senior management to ensure service improvements were achieved through the tail end of the contract to 2021.


A resident commented that the Councils winter gritting strategy was reviewed at the Committee meeting held on September 2018. An update was requested around what progress had been made to the gritting of pedestrian and access routes. Simon Davis explained that the key routes would be gritted for the predicted snowfall, however he needed to review the schedule to ascertain exactly what routes had been included in the plan.


Councillor Wesley Harcourt, Cabinet Member for the Environment noted that the gritting strategy had been revised to include the comments raised by members. The routes had been extended from localised gritting spots to include routes of the main road and pedestrian footways and access from them to schools. The Chair said that she would follow this up with Lesley Gates, Area Contracts, and Enforcement Manager, and circulate the revised policy to Committee members once an update was received.


Action: Councillor Bora Kwon


Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler queried how many other companies provided a similar service to Serco in London. In response, Simon Davis noted that there were around 5-6 London based providers. There had been a notable decrease in the number of providers due to the fluctuation on the rate of materials. In addition, Councillor Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler commented that Serco were late to collect Christmas trees on both collection days in 2018.  Councillor Wesley Harcourt added that Serco had responded that this was down to a machinery malfunction. The Chair suggested that further investigations be carried out on this matter. The Committee concurred with the Chair and noted that this needed to be raised with Serco to determine what had caused the delays and how this could be avoided in future. 

Action: Simon Davis/ Lesley Gates

Councillor Iain Cassidy commented that fly tipping had increased over the years and asked how these figures were reported to the Council. Simon Davis explained that majority of the time these were either spotted or reported through feedback received from residents. As part of the contract, it was Serco’s responsibility to ensure that these were removed within 48 hours. In addition, he said that 25% of the reported fly tipping was black bag waste.

Sharon Lea, Director of Resident Services explained that current figure for fly tipping needed to be reviewed. Other reported issues were gathered in the current data set and there had been a duplication of reporting, therefore the current information was flawed. Work was being carried out to ensure that our data set was accurate and how this could be better managed going forward. The Chair agreed and noted that this needed be managed and monitored effectively going forward. In addition, noted that it was essential to have suitable mechanisms in place ensuring that landlords and local residents were well informed.

Councillor Iain Cassidy asked when an accurate data set would be available. Sharon Lea noted that this was currently a work in progress, however an update would be provided to Committee members as soon as this had been completed.



That the Committee reviewed and commented on the report


Supporting documents: