Council staff member’s criticism of waste firm
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.