Coun­cil staff mem­ber’s crit­i­cism of waste firm

South Wales Echo - - NEWS -

A WHISTLE­BLOWER has crit­i­cised a pri­vate firm be­hind a coun­cil’s bin col­lec­tion cri­sis which saw mag­gots in­fest­ing un­col­lected waste.

Brid­gend coun­cil took out the new £82m seven-year con­tract with Kier, which in­cluded a three-month sus­pen­sion of a penalty clause from the ser­vice start date of June 5.

In June, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the new ser­vice was de­scribed as caus­ing “chaos” with large num­bers of missed rub­bish and re­cy­cling col­lec­tions which led to waste, in­clud­ing bags of nap­pies, sit­ting on kerb­sides for weeks.

Many also re­ported they had not had the cor­rect re­cy­cling con­tain­ers or bin bags de­liv­ered.

But a coun­cil worker, who did not wish to be iden­ti­fied, has come for­ward to high­light a num­ber of ar­eas where Kier has failed to carry out stip­u­la­tions in the con­tract, which she claims have not been man­aged by the coun­cil.

The whistle­blower said: “I think the con­tract is the big­gest is­sue, it hasn’t been met.

“The big­gest thing is the fact that the con­tract has not been sus­tained in the pro­ba­tion­ary pe­riod and no­body in the coun­cil is chal­leng­ing them on the con­tract.

“There is no su­per­vi­sion of­fi­cer or man­age­ment, no­body is ac­count­able in Kier.

“There are no meet­ings be­tween ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cers, man­age­ment or Kier.

“There have been loads of com­plaints made against the author­ity and Kier and the par­ties haven’t come to­gether to re­solve it.

“There have been so many de­faults in this con­tract.

“We can’t en­force any­thing be­cause Kier haven’t kept up their end of the con­tract and the author­ity are not man­ag­ing the con­tract.

“They could have ter­mi­nated the con­tract in the pro­ba­tion­ary pe­riod but didn’t.”

The con­tract clauses that the whistle­blower claims have not been met in­clude the fol­low­ing:

Penalty points for missed bin col­lec­tions; lit­er­a­ture pro­vided in Welsh; the author­ity paying or em­ploy­ing out­side per­sons if ser­vice is not pro­vided;

re­place­ments sub­ject to writ­ten agree­ment with lo­cal author­ity;

suf­fi­cient num­bers of staff avail­able to pro­vide ser­vices dur­ing hol­i­days or sick­ness and to cope with spe­cial events or emer­gen­cies;

con­trac­tor to en­sure ev­ery per­son em­ployed pos­sesses ad­e­quate qual­i­fi­ca­tions and ex­pe­ri­ence;

for­mal train­ing to be pro­vided for Kier or agency staff;

con­tract man­ager to be avail­able to su­per­vis­ing of­fi­cer at all rea­son­able times;

con­trac­tor to pro­vide staff with spe­cial or pro­tec­tive cloth­ing or footwear and uni­forms that iden­ti­fies staff mem­bers;

con­trac­tor shall main­tain cur­rent and ac­cu­rate records of staff and these records shall be open for in­spec­tion by the su­per­vis­ing of­fi­cer;

con­trac­tor shall main­tain cur­rent and ac­cu­rate records of all work car­ried out in the pro­vi­sion of the ser­vices;

con­trac­tor shall, in pro­vid­ing the ser­vice, ob­serve good en­vi­ron­men­tal prac­tice, and be com­pli­ant with all rel­e­vant en­vi­ron­men­tal leg­is­la­tion; and

to pro­vide a dis­crete col­lec­tion for ab­sorbent hy­giene prod­ucts, in­clud­ing nap­pies and san­i­tary prod­ucts.

In re­sponse to the claims, Brid­gend coun­cil deputy leader Hy­wel Wil­liams said: “I’m dis­ap­pointed to see that these claims have been made anony­mously as there is noth­ing se­cret about the con­tract ex­tracts.

“They are pub­licly avail­able, have al­ready been pro­vided to var­i­ous peo­ple on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions, and the coun­cil has con­sis­tently of­fered to dis­cuss them in fur­ther de­tail if re­quired.

“To put them in per­spec­tive, the most re­cent recorded fig­ures demon­strate that the county bor­ough’s over­all re­cy­cling rate has risen to 63.7%.

“What this means is that just three months after the scheme was in­tro­duced, we are al­ready well on our way to hit­ting strict new tar­gets set by Welsh Gov­ern­ment.

“No­body is dis­put­ing that there have been a num­ber of is­sues with the in­tro­duc­tion of the new ser­vice, but this is not un­usual for new con­tracts of this size and scope. Many of the is­sues have al­ready been ad­dressed, and we are work­ing with Kier on mak­ing fur­ther im­prove­ments.

“While the con­tract marks a part­ner­ship be­tween Kier and the coun­cil which al­lows both sides to in­voke for­mal in­ter­ven­tions if nec­es­sary, it is un­re­al­is­tic to sug­gest that this should oc­cur be­fore the ser­vice has even had a chance of es­tab­lish­ing it­self prop­erly.”

Kier was ap­proached for com­ment but had not re­sponded at time of go­ing to press.

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