Agenda item

Joint Waste Solutions Performance Review, Forward Plan and Interim Strategy OSC23-003

For the Committee to be updated on the performance of the Joint Waste Collection Contract for the year 2021-22, the Resources and Waste Strategy for England and Surrey’s Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy.


Reporting Person: Mark Tabner / Joint Waste Solutions / Amey


The Committee welcomed representatives of Joint Waste Solutions (JWS); Sarah Beck, West Section Manager, Alex Davies, Senior Performance Manager, and Kelly Goldsmith, Partnership Director.

Service Update

Amey, and contract partner JWS, had transferred to a new IT system which had positively impacted the delivery of services. The new IT system had been fully implemented to provide services and efforts were being made to develop the product to provide service improvements.

The IT system recorded and notified refuse collectors of all properties that required assisted collections.

The garden waste collection service had been reinstated in May 2022 with fortnightly collections, following a pause.  Although there had been issues in restarting the operation, these had now been remedied.  As compensation to affected residents, all accounts had been extended by an amount equal to the period of time the service had been paused.  The billing process had been restarted and the process for billing had been streamlined from twelve to five months, thanks in part to the new IT system.

Alex Davies provided an update on the performance of recycling and waste collection services.  It was noted that the total volume of waste collected in Woking Borough had continued to increase year-on-year.  The year 2020-21 had seen a marked increase above the average, attributed to the effects of the pandemic.  The level had fallen somewhat in 2021-22.

The rate of recycling, the total amount of waste collected less non-recycled waste, had continued to fall year-on-year and had dropped 6% in 5 years.  Part of the drop was attributed to less garden waste being collected during the summer of 2022.  The amount of dry mixed recycling had particularly fallen in recent years.  JWS was analysing possible reasons for reduced recycling in the Borough to aid the development of initiatives to encourage recycling.

Missed bins were regularly reported in the Performance and Financial Monitoring Information, the target was 80 bins per 100,000.  Between April 2020 and November 2022 there had been three occasions where this number had been exceeded.  The new IT system provided the ability to monitor missed bins in real-time.

Amey provided a daily service update to JWS.  Refuse collectors could report an exception, i.e. a reason why a bin couldn’t be collected, which would prevent the bin from being reported as missed.  The system included the ability to record a street as not collected by refuse collectors from within the cab and reason given.

Members of the Committee were concerned there were instances whereby the system or refuse collectors incorrectly reported an exception, preventing residents from reporting missed collections.  JWS explained that this was more likely with food waste collection as missed bins were reported by the refuse collectors, where the other collections were automated.  JWS representatives agreed to review accuracy of reporting with Amey.

Following a request by the Committee, JWS undertook to consider how best to monitor, and feedback, the rate of missed bins in the Borough and how this could be reduced.

New National Policy

A deposit return scheme for drinks containers had been announced.  The scheme would not cover glass bottles.

The Government had announced a new national waste management policy, due to be introduced in 2025, that would have significant impact on waste collection.

One of the intentions of the new policy was to provide consistency across local authorities in what was recycled, including food waste, as well as between residential and commercial collection.  Many authorities did not comprehensively collect food waste.  Woking had 99% food collection coverage.  JWS continued to develop strategies to reach the remaining 1%.

The new national policy would seek a recycling rate of 55% by 2025 and 65% by 2035.  A target for the overall production of waste to be reduced by 50% on 2019 levels by 2042 was currently out for consultation

It was expected that fleets of waste collection operators would become zero-emission by 2030.

The extant policy employed by JWS was due to end in 2024 and a bridging policy had been approved by the Surrey Environment Partnership Group to cover the period to 2025.  The input of local authorities was being sought on the interim policy.

Service Improvements

Cameras had been installed in the cabins of waste collection vehicles, excluding the smaller vehicles used for food waste collection, which fed back to the new IT system.  The cameras could detect when bins had not been presented for collection or instances of cross-contamination of types of waste.  Where instances were detected letters could be sent to the responsible household informing them.  As part of efforts to increase food collection, residents were contacted if the cameras detected that a food waste bin had not been presented.

JWS had produced an educational video for residents in the Borough explaining cross-contamination of waste and how it could be reduced.

To reduce the burden on communal bins, ground floor flats in residential blocks had been provided with their own bins.

The Shared Monitoring Resource Team had been inspecting communal sites to detect issues which prevented or otherwise lowered the recycling rate.  JWS continued to develop a strategy to improve the recycling rate at communal sites.

JWS had continued school engagement including helping schools gain green flag accreditation.  A data led review was taking place on how to communicate with residents most effectively, balancing face to face communication with virtual.

Members of the Committee enquired why direct debit payments could not be made for garden waste collection and JWS confirmed that discussions were being held on their introduction.  The new IT system did not have the ability to handle direct debit payments, so another system would need to be added to provide the functionality.

Amey was addressing potential driver shortages in two ways; by upscaling employees and performing recruitment drives.  Amey had over-recruited in an effort to prevent a repeat of the driver shortages experienced in 2022.  JWS considered that Amey now had a level of resilience in their driver stock.

JWS encouraged residents and Councillors to contact them directly where there were complaints about service.