Agenda item

Outcome of Scrutiny Committee findings into the new Waste Contract

This report provides the response to the 24 recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee following its Task and Finish Groups investigation into the procurement, mobilisation and implementation of an outsourced contract for waste collections services.



The Chair thanked the Scrutiny Committee and the Task and Finish Group for their hard work and proposed that the Committee should accept all 27 recommendations, and that the report should help partnering Boroughs to implement the changes, and also enable London Borough of Sutton (LBS) and the South London Waste Partnership to monitor progress.


The Chair pointed out that the recycling rate had now reached over 50%, which was one of the best in London, and that this meant less being sent to expensive landfill, and so savings were being made. She did recognise that much better preparation was needed in the run up to service change, but that it had been difficult to deliver such a large service change with much fewer resources at a time of austerity.  The Council was working very hard to put things right, which was why the Scrutiny Committee had been set up, and proposed to act on all its recommendations. A lot of progress was already being made, and this was the number one priority.


The Chair invited Councillor Tony Shields to comment on the Scrutiny report from the Opposition point of view, and he highlighted the following –


  • Local residents were not consulted and were misinformed about the project;
  • Collections were still erratic for some local residents; and
  • Local residents should be compensated for repeated missed collections


The Chair then invited the Chair of Scrutiny, Councillor Ali to comment and she highlighted the following -

  • The Task and Finish Group worked hard including officers;
  • The report reflected all contributions made;
  • The Recommendations were valid and she asked that the committee take them forward for future actions, monitoring and review; and
  • That there were lessons to be learnt for partners entering the SLWP contract, and for future contracts procured by the Council and its partners.


Matt Clubb, Assistant Director of Environment Commissioning, presented the report including the management response relating to each of the four main themes (ICT and Communication, Risk Management, Member Engagement and Staff Engagement), and the action plan covering the strategic and operational recommendations.


Members were pleased with the work being done to progress the recommendations, and thanked the Scrutiny Committee and officers for their work, but identified ongoing issues relating to the flats project and the need to find a way to consult with local residents that was permissible under procurement rules. Members also identified a number of lessons to be learnt for future projects and were of the view that the action plan, following approval at this Committee, needed to be implemented quickly with a clear statement of actions and deadlines for completion.


The Committee proposed the following should be included in the Action Plan:


  1. A date for completion of visits and actions under the Flats Project be decided upon.
  2. It should propose to the SLWP that the terms of reference of the Joint Waste Committee should be extended to include waste collection as well as waste disposal
  3. A toolkit/guide providing information on service standards, and the respective responsibilities of the Council/SLWP/Veolia, be produced initially for members by the end of December 2017, and then a similar guide for local residents to go on the Council’s website.
  4. The Strategy & Resources Committee be asked to look at risk culture and the effectiveness of high level risk management across the Council.
  5. The Council should be asked to review its current interpretation of the purdah rules, which limits the nature and extent of communications during election periods.


Matt Clubb informed the Committee that the flats project continues to be a priority and Veolia has already identified additional resources for this. Improvements were also being made to the ICT system and processes, relating to how calls were logged and acted upon, with significant learning being put in place for the other Boroughs of the SLWP.  


RESOLVED: that the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee:


  1. Accept all the recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee.


  1. Agree the Management response in Appendix B.


  1. Agree to receive a report taking forward the Action Plan in 12 months time and the following items be included in the Action Plan -
  1. A date to be agreed with officers for the Flat Project to be completed.
  2. Consideration be given to review of the Terms of Reference for the Joint Waste Committee (JWC).
  3. A toolkit/Guide be produced for members by December 2017 relating to the service standards, and roles and responsibilities, to be followed by a similar guide for local residents about the services.
  4. A report be produced for the Strategy and Resources Committee relating to the issues raised regarding Risk Management across the organisation.
  5. A request be made to the Chief Executive’s office to review the Purdah rules for elected members.


Supporting documents: