04:24PM, Tuesday 18 January 2022
A councillor has defended the Royal Borough’s waste collection operator Serco following complaints on social media over Christmas regarding changes to collections.
Cllr John Bowden (Con, Eton & Castle) called for ‘some respect for the staff that are on Bank Holidays’ at a communities overview and scrutiny meeting on Monday.
With Christmas Day and Boxing Day falling on weekends, there were two Bank Holidays in lieu on the following Monday and Tuesday.
As a result, some residents saw their revised collections pushed back by up to five days, with the worst-affected not seeing their black bins collected for 19 days.
The Royal Borough advised residents that ‘only items placed inside the bins will be collected’, with households encouraged to take any extra rubbish to Stafferton Way Household Waste and Recycling Centre.
Despite complaints on social media, a report presented to councillors on Monday said the ‘percentage of household waste sent for reuse/recycling’ was marked as ‘succeeding or achieved’ having been above a target of 45 per cent during the period up until September 2021.
However, Cllr Catherine del Campo (Lib Dem, Furze Platt) said that the ‘headline recycling figure does not reflect, perhaps, the difficulties particularly over Christmas’.
She added that she believed there were some ‘ongoing issues with assisted collections’ for the borough’s most vulnerable residents.
“I realise these are headlines, but perhaps we need another one just to reflect that quality of service to residents,” said Cllr del Campo.
“I would guess that’s probably what councillors get most emails about at the moment.”
In response, RBWM’s executive director of place, Andrew Durrant, said that the council had seen a ‘fairly low level’ of issues over the Christmas period, but added officers would be bringing back a further report detailing changes to service since a switch to fortnightly collections.
“It’s generally gone very, very well – but it’s not without some issues at some properties,” said Mr Durrant.
“What we’re going to be doing as a team is coming back with a more detailed report; I want to see that as well for my own interests in how the service is being delivered, but it’s certainly something that we should bring back to an O&S panel.”
On the other hand, chair of the meeting, Cllr Bowden, defended the work of Serco over the Christmas.
“I think everybody should remember that this is the first time they’ve undertaken a four-day Bank Holiday – I think it happens every four years or more – so that disjoins the whole pick-up system,” said Cllr Bowden.
“I think the majority of the complaints I heard on social media were quite simply resolved by understanding the dates the actual bin collections were changed to.
“A lot of people were putting out disinformation - certainly in Windsor and Eton – about when the actual collection dates were, because they were not moved just by one day, they were moved three days across a weekend.
“A lot of times, people were saying ‘I do not know what day I put my bin out’ – well, there was plenty of information going out there.
“It’s a bit 50/50, but it was a four-day weekend, and also we have this coming up at the Jubilee Weekend as well, so that is going to disjoin a number of collections at the same time.”
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