FOI request reveals Wirral Council issued 168 Fixed Penalty Notices (mainly for alleyway dumping)
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.
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.
The Entry Investigation Team has been introduced and 28 FPNs have been issued as a result of this.
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:
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.”
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:
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.”
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.
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.