Thousands of missed bin collections as Serco told: Up your game

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Canterbury City Council's refuse contract is with Serco (stock image, Regency Place, Canterbury)

Nearly 6,000 bins have gone uncollected in the Canterbury district since October, according to a report going before councillors this week.

The city council says the performance in the last six months by contractor Serco “fell well below” the standards expected by both the authority and taxpaying residents.

Serco blamed the shortcomings on vehicle breakdowns, staffing issues and problems in December and January with the waste disposal centre in Thanet.

The city council performs six-monthly reviews of its £4.7 million waste collection and street cleaning contract with Serco, which runs until 2021.

Members of the council’s community committee will be presented with a report about Serco’s performance by David Ford, the authority’s director of commissioned services.

Serco is the city council’s waste contractor

He writes: “Targets have always been ambitious and focused on the needs of the resident, with financial penalties imposed for poor performance.

“As previously reported, despite consistent underperformance against the contract target, the target for missed bins was again increased for 2017/2018.

“Such targets are unrealistic, and this has been tested through some benchmarking recently undertaken with similar local authorities and a review of the current performance regime was completed in this period.

“Changes have been made to the targets which have been implemented from April 2018. For the past six months covered in this report, there has been a dramatic reduction in the performance affecting bin collections, which fell well below the standard that the council and our residents expect.”

Following a review last year, Serco put in place measures to improve its performance.

These included hiring more HGV drivers, working with students and landlords to improve recycling of paper and cardboard, the taking of photographs to identify vehicles which block access to the certain roads and review problems at frequently missed roads.

The community committee meets at the Guildhall at 7pm on Wednesday. It is open to the public.

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