Advertising
 
Posted by: John Brace | 16th June 2015

FOI request reveals Wirral Council issued 168 Fixed Penalty Notices (mainly for alleyway dumping)

FOI request reveals Wirral Council issued 168 Fixed Penalty Notices (mainly for alleyway dumping)

                                                           

Wirral Council Environmental Streetscene Services Contract page 122 Schedule 2 - Nominees to the Partnering Agreements

Yesterday, Wirral Council responded to a Freedom of Information Act request I made last month for minutes of the meetings of the Partnering Board (which comprises of Wirral Council and Biffa Waste Services Limited) for the last year.

The minutes of the Partnering Board meetings of the 10th March 2015, 18th December 2014, 21st October 2014 and 14th July 2014 contain some interesting information.

Below are extracts from the minutes that hopefully will be of wider public/political interest starting with the meeting held on the 14th July 2014. I have submitted an internal review request to Wirral Council for the minutes without the names of Wirral Council employees redacted. RE stands for Roger Edwards, FPN stands for fixed penalty notices, MS stands for Mark Smith, Cllr BM for Councillor Bernie Mooney and VO stands for variation order.

2. ANNUAL REVIEW
….
Noted garden waste has now exceeded last year’s figure and hope to get to 40,000 properties. RE queried about incentives for signing up however XX noted we have to be very careful as the £5 reduction online has raised objections by some residents and opposition members and that XX is exploring alternative cost effective payment mechanisms. However, XX advised we can market to people who signed up last year who have not signed up this year and there are around 3,000 who have not re-signed.

Street Cleansing
….
The Entry Investigation Team has been introduced and 28 FPNs have been issued as a result of this.

7. AOB

Possible Industrial Action Update
RE updated that Biffa offered pay settlement to the workforce of 1.8% in line with RPI – the request from the workforce was 6%. RE advised the workforce have decided to ballot for industrial action before any decision made. RE is working hard to resolve this situation. The industrial action is planned for Fri 18 July.

There are parts of the minutes of the meeting held on the 21st October 2014 that will be of wider interest too:

Managing Down Demand – Missed Collections

XX have been looking at all the missed bin calls we had in for 2010-14 and the breakdown of unjustified (which was about half) to give an idea of the proportion of calls coming in. The 3 main reasons for unjustified bins are: bin not out, entry work and access issues. Disputes occur where resident is told the PDA said bin not out and they disagree. XX wants to look at the dispute figures and drill down i.e. is it the resident at fault, is it the crew not using the PDA properly etc. When a resident does not agree with PDA data this causes a lot of work in the back office. There could be an education issue here reminding residents that 7am is the time rounds start and the crews can come to roads at different times each week.

If we do some re-training around contamination to show the importance of the PDA and show the impact of not using the PDA correctly that should be beneficial. RE noted if we do not have confidence in the PDA data then everything else becomes difficult.”


Alleyway Dumping

XX advised had over 600 referrals for the Waste Investigate Unit (WIU) and issued 168 FPNs to mainly the Seacombe/Birkenhead areas. XX noted we need to do some work around where issuing the FPNs. 5 court cases regarding litter have gone well with the offenders being fined and this information is on the Council website. XX hoping to do full leaflet drop to relevant properties to say what we are doing and what success we have had. Currently drafting up a second leaflet to get out before Christmas to all terraced properties to highlight the good work we have been doing.

XX noted some new anti-social behaviour laws which are coming out and she is looking if we can go down this route with landlords. XX going to be looking at the licensing scheme and if we can make that work for us by adding in further conditions (Selective Licensing scheme). MS noted when speak to Senior Members of the Council enforcement is now an issue they are behind it. Noted 260 good neighbourhood packs have gone out to a variety of areas.”

From the meeting held on the 18th December 2014:

Alleyway Dumping

XX advised the Waste Investigation Unit are doing a fantastic job. XX noted an incident where a disgruntled member of the public, because of his threatening behavior, was issued with an ASBO. Main issue is the Courts are only letting us take 5 cases a week. Legal services need to approach the courts to get more time to hear more cases. XX plans to do another leaflet drop after Christmas to highlight to the public the financial costs of failing to manage their waste responsibly, or through ignoring fixed penalty charges. XX next steps are to meet the selective licensing team. Birkenhead and Seacombe have been identified as a selective licensing areas which means we can prescribe to landlords what they must do re bins and as Birkenhead and Seacombe are where the most is, it is hoped this will have a significant impact over time.”

Transparency Code

The code is about being more transparent about what we publish for the public to see and waste collection is one of the things requiring more details including publishing a version of the contract. XX are going to look at refreshing the contract, redacting certain bits and then send to Biffa to consider. Agreed a good idea would be a half day session with both parties to look at updating and modernizing the contract.”

Finally from the meeting held on the 10th March 2015.

Action Log

50 Street Cleansing Transitional Money

MS advised there is £116,000 available. XX is currently working on a briefing note recommending how that money could be used. MS has the authority to spend this money however he would get endorsement from Cllr BM first.

64 Benchmarking Data

XX advised some of the information required is deemed as commercially sensitive and there is a strong reluctance to share this information at the moment. MS felt we do need to be getting to a stage where we have the mechanism in place to demonstrate value for money from this contract. XX also safeguard the financial position of Biffa. XX to send through further details to XX & SC showing exactly what it is we are looking for.

67. Contract under the Transparency Code

XX has started this piece of work. By the end of April we have to publish the contract on Council website. XX noted his intention to incorporate the VOs and XX send to Biffa to redact the finance. XX commented that there are inaccuracies in the contract in relation to execution on the ground but nothing of serious concern. MS noted as we are signing off a significant VO if there are any anomalies we need to resolve them before we publish.

CONTRACT PERFORMANCE OVERVIEW

SC queried whether there had been any thought about the garden waste service passing to Biffa? MS advised if Biffa want to put an offer to the Council formally they were welcome to.

If you click on any of the buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people.


Responses

  1. Mr Brace, There are indeed Several Issues with the Contract, within and the operation of and Ancillary/Connecting Matters? I will give more information on that in due course. Suffice to say these matters are provable and I am not surprised, this maybe being looked at and possible variances taking place, by Mutual Consent of Course!!!!!!

    • Sorry Mr Brace, Bobby used a Very Interesting Phrase previously on your Blog ” Table Top Exercise ” I would prefer to use the phrase “Not Lacking in Due Diligence, with Little Muscles and his Pretend Friend”

  2. The part about the Allyway Dumbing, if WBC didn’t charge for the ERIC service you would’nt have ALLYWAY DUMPING’S thus saving money overall, as for asking landlords to tell their tenants what bins to use when putting rubbish out, what the hell as it got to do with the landlords?
    They used to come around once a month to check clean our allyway, but this year never seen anyone!
    And as for the brown bins, they are down by 3.000 this year, i wonder why? maybe people have seen the light, and thought i pay though the nose for my Council Tax and i have to pay extra for a brown bin! dream on.

    Now if the Council and Biffa trained their staff to return the bins once they were emptied into the bin wagon back to where the found them,[ instead of leaving them all over the footpaths as they do now!] then we will see an improvement in the service

    • Back when a Lib Dem/Labour coalition was in charge of Wirral Council in 2009, I put out a leaflet about the changes to charging for the ERIC service.

      One of the Lib Dem councillors wanted all the leaflets pulped and not delivered (and accused me of kicking up a fuss) and said something along the lines of “I’ve had enough trouble from the Tory councillors about this”.

      Turns out that said councillor had within the recent past come up with a large (over a thousand signature) petition calling on scrapping the ERIC charge (which had happened) and had put this out to a few thousand voters in a leaflet. Once this petition had been presented the administration at the time had scrapped the ERIC charge. So the Tories thought it was hypocritical to campaign to scrap them and then do a U-turn introducing a £20 charge now the Lib Dems were in power.

      Apparently the objectionable line was “In October Councillor Foulkes (Labour’s leader) introduced a £20 charge from April 2009 for the free ERIC service. This will only lead to an increase in flytipping as it did last time charges were introduced for the ERIC service.”

      Here’s a link to the Cabinet meeting were Cllr Steve Foulkes proposed the £20 charge.

      Here’s a link to the leaflet.

      Both Leonora and I resigned from the Birkenhead Lib Dem Constituency Executive over the trouble kicked up by the Lib Dems as the leaflet blamed a Labour councillor (Cllr Steve Foulkes) for proposing it.

      In other areas, they either waived the charge for people on low incomes (for example those in receipt of council tax benefit) or had a much reduced charge (for example £5).

      So believe me, I tried to point out it would lead to more flytipping at the time and got into hot water for stating the obvious!

      Ironically the Labour & Lib Dem councillors in the coalition voted (which included the councillor that kicked up a fuss) for “That an allocation of £90,000 be set aside from the £515,000 ERIC Service budget saving option to facilitate a rapid response to fly tipping.”

      So I got into trouble for delivering a leaflet which was just a restatement of policy!

      Hopefully this shows you what goes on behind the scene in party politics if you tell the truth!

      P.S. And the Lib Dems are supposed to be a party in favour of freedom of speech!


Categories