What are Wirral Council’s budget proposals on garden waste and cuts in services to the Irish community?

What are Wirral Council’s budget proposals on garden waste and cuts in services to the Irish community?

What are Wirral Council’s budget proposals on garden waste and cuts in services to the Irish community?

                                       

The author of this piece has one parent who has dual Irish & British nationality.

Below are briefing notes sent to councillors following a behind closed doors meeting to discuss budget cuts (that have yet to be formally agreed).

Topics covered include garden waste (where it’s noted that the plan shows that the Wirral Globe receives £3,000 and Wirral View £2,200), defunding a service provided through Sadir House for people with HIV/AIDS and defunding services provided through Irish Community Care Merseyside to the Irish and Irish traveller communities.
Continue reading “What are Wirral Council’s budget proposals on garden waste and cuts in services to the Irish community?”

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)

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.

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Council (Wirral Council) 14th October 2013 Answers to Questions to the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Sustainability (Cllr Brian Kenny)

Council (Wirral Council) 14th October 2013 Answers to Questions to the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Sustainability (Cllr Brian Kenny) on dog fouling, litter, garden waste, brown bins, Wirral Coastal Strategy and flooding in Leasowe

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Cllr Brian Kenny’s answers start at 4:58 in the video above.

Council (Wirral Council) 14th October 2013 Answers to Questions to the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Sustainability (Cllr Brian Kenny)

                               

Continues from https://johnbrace.com/2013/10/28/council-wirral-council-14th-october-2013-questions-to-the-cabinet-member-for-the-environment-and-sustainability-cllr-brian-kenny/.

Cllr Brian Kenny replied, “On the first question from Cllr Rennie, I must admit I do smile when this Labour administration has been forced to implement cuts of over £109 million over three years, a third of our budget in a situation where there doesn’t appear to be any protest to the national Government for resources, .. into that position. Many decisions that we have to make as part of last year’s Budget are very difficult decisions that we did have to implement and now we’re getting complaints as a result of those reductions. So can I say that we are very concerned about dog fouling, litter picking et cetera and one of the reasons why we’re shortly going to be allocating £10,000 to each of the new four constituency committees to spend on the basis that we want them, within their constituencies, to use that money to basically clean up the area, decide for themselves what their priorities are et cetera et cetera. So money will be allocated for that.

Also at the end of last week Mr Mayor I did have a meeting with Mike Collins, one of the senior dog wardens, on the whole question of dog fouling. I understand a couple of staff have recently left and have not yet been replaced. That is in the process of being dealt with at the moment but hopefully before too long the number of prosecutions will come up but when we’re talking about prosecutions, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again now. People can’t be prosecuted for allowing their dog to foul unless somebody is willing to come forward with evidence. So if anybody in this chamber or anybody in the Wirral has ever got any evidence of allowing their dog to foul without cleaning up please pass the evidence on and I can assure you that evidence will be viewed.

On Cllr Doughty’s question, yes you can from the report that we’ve already had over thirty-five thousand people in the Wirral sign up for the new garden waste scheme. The original target was thirty thousand, so we’re well above the target and again as you can see in the report I’ve been asked to go and speak at a conference, unless it’s called in, but I’ve been asked to speak at a conference outside of Wirral on this whole area, … but I understand that many councils up and down the country have already as Cllr Doughty said, have already introduced charges for garden waste, most of those seem to be well above the charges that we introduced on the Wirral and as we speak many other councils are now considering introducing charges for garden waste and they are very interested in learning from our experience here in the Wirral. Again Cllr Doughty mentioned home composting, I think again the figures in the report are very encouraging because one big aspect of introducing the garden waste scheme was that we wanted to encourage more residents of the Wirral to go down the road of home composting and I’m pleased to say that many of them have already done that.

Again Cllr Gilchrist referred to the question of garden waste. Now we will very shortly be going out to tender to get bids in for the taking away of brown bins for those people who don’t want them. Brown bins will be taken away around about the end of November. At the moment there are no specific figures as to how many are going to be taken in, it will be part of the tendering process as to what the people who tender will intend to do with the brown bins. I am happy to give a written answer on that when we have more details.

Cllr Janette Williamson asked about the Wirral Coastal Scheme and said basically can we afford it. I think my answer to that is we can’t afford not to. We’ve just spent over two years looking at the whole of Wirral coastal strategy scheme to decide what we’re going to do for literally the next hundred years. I can’t guarantee I’ll be here at the end of that hundred years, I probably won’t but it is such an important issue for the Wirral, obviously with it being a peninsula it’s surrounded by water on three sides so we can’t afford to ignore this issue, and that’s why we’ve instructed Kevin Adderley to go away and identify funding from places like the Environment Agency, other areas of funding where the work can be done over the next twenty years to make sure all the coastal areas are protected. So we’ve got to find the money for that one it is so important.

On the last question Mr Mayor about this question about flooding. Well I understand one of the main areas of flooding in the Wirral over the last few years has been in the area of Reedville Grove and Reeds Lane in Leasowe and I understand as a direct result of a public meeting called by Cllr Abbey and Cllr Leech, followed by meetings with United Utilities, we’ve now I think got good news on that one. United Utilities have recently announced that they are putting aside £5 million to resolve this problem. So they’re going to introduce a new pumping station and I think that would be very much welcomed by the residents that live in that area and also people who have cause to use the local station, Leasowe station so there is some good news on that one Mr Mayor.”

Continues at Council (Wirral Council) 14th October 2013 Questions to the Cabinet Member for the Governance and Improvement (Cllr Ann McLachlan).

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Council (Wirral Council) 14th October 2013 Questions to the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Sustainability (Cllr Brian Kenny)

Council (Wirral Council) 14th October 2013 Questions to the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Sustainability (Cllr Brian Kenny) on dog fouling, flooding, garden waste and the Wirral Coastal Strategy

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These questions start at 1:53 in the video above.

Council (Wirral Council) 14th October 2013 Questions to the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Sustainability (Cllr Brian Kenny)

                               

Continues from Council (Wirral Council) 14th October 2013 Answers to Questions to the Cabinet Member for the Economy (Cllr Pat Hackett).

Cllr Lesley Rennie asked, “Brian, I’m really pleased to note that Council are actually drafting a litter reduction strategy and clearly part of that strategy will be a key focus on dog fouling within that, but surely wouldn’t you not agree with me that the best way to discourage dog fouling is to increase not axe the number of dog wardens that we have? And therefore by increasing you may be able to improve the number of prosecutions for those that actually flout the law in that respect but I have to say Brian, unfortunately under your Cabinet leadership, the number of prosecutions have been nothing short of appalling.”

Cllr Paul Doughty asked, “I’d just like to ask the question, following a very interesting presentation by the Leader of Sevenoaks Council on Saturday a discussion was had with himself where he congratulated Wirral Council on the successful implementation of our garden waste scheme and also was pleased and able to see how low the cost of the service is when in his authority, a Conservative authority, the cost is £43 a year? And also can I congratulate the Cabinet Member on the percentage increase of garden waste composition announced that continues to be implemented?

Cllr Phil Gilchrist asked, “My question is on the issue of garden waste, I wonder if the Cabinet Member has an idea or an estimate how many brown bins are likely to be returned and what is likely to be the fate of the brown bins in terms of their recycling or reuse and what is he going to do with the brown bin mountain?”

Cllr Janette Williamson asked, “Given the Council’s very difficult financial position can you afford to implement the Wirral Coastal Strategy?”

Cllr Tony Norbury, “This question relates to the Coastal Strategy. I welcome the proposals for Council to explore funding options in relation to the Coastal Strategy. Given the serious level of flooding that has been within the Borough recently to people’s homes and land, can the Cabinet Member advise when and where work has been done in relation to this issue with United Utilities and the environmental officers?”

Continues at Council (Wirral Council) 14th October 2013 Answers to Questions to the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Sustainability (Cllr Brian Kenny).

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