Updated: 11/06/21 @ 20:05
Empty vessels, they say, make most noise and actions speak louder than words.
On Wednesday 9th June Cllr Stuart Peall (Con), Cabinet Member responsible for Waste, Cllr David Monk (Con) – Leader of the Council, the Chief Exec Dr Susan Priest and other Folkestone & Hythe District Council officers met with the Regional Director of Veolia, Pascal Hauret, and his representatives, to talk about the rubbish bin issue which has plagued the whole district.
Cllr Peall (Con) states he:
” called the meeting in order to explain unequivocally that the Council will not stand for this situation any longer, has no confidence in Veolia as our contractor and that corrective action is required immediately. I can assure you that the Veolia team were left in no doubt about the Council’s exasperation with a situation, not of our making, that has brought significant reputational damage to the Council.
“The Managing Director of Veolia apologised and promised to address the situation through immediate corrective actions. This will include providing additional resources, over and above what has been deployed thus far, to ensure collection rates return to expected service levels as soon as possible. A full review of the data used to develop the new routes will also be undertaken to ensure that any underlying issues are identified and addressed. Veolia will also send a letter of apology to every household across the district.
“The Council’s expectation is that improvements will be start immediately and that the return to expected service levels should be achieved within 2 weeks. Progress will monitored on a daily basis and I can assure you that the Council will take all action necessary to hold Veolia to account both now and in the future.
As of this afternoon 11/06/21, Cllr Stuart Peall (Con) Cabinet Member for Waste has added further information by saying:
“Further to meeting earlier this week with Veolia senior leadership, and my email to you of 9th June 2021, outlined below is an overview of additional resources which are being deployed to address the service failures experienced as a result of the collection route changes. From next week Veolia will deploy the following, over and above the resources they are contracted to provide:
4 additional vehicles
12 additional crew staff
5 additional managers / supervisors
Overtime to be paid at a higher payment
“To address the severe pressure on our contact centre, Veolia will also pay for 5 additional Advisors within FHDC Customer Services Team (to the end of July 2021) in order to address the backlog of reported issues and complaints.
“A letter of apology has been prepared by Veolia and this will be sent to every household across the district next week.
“It is expected that the additional resourcing levels, which are at no cost to the Council, will be in place until service levels are returned to, and can be sustained at, the excellent level our customers deserve.
“I will continue to work with the Chief Executive and senior officers to hold Veolia to account and expect there to be incremental improvements starting immediately.”
Now we personally believe it is irresponsible of the Council to solely blame Veolia. It takes two to tango. And given in April, Veolia and the Council signed and sent out the following letter, both parties must take some responsibility for this mess residents have seen regarding the failure of the service to collect waste, for which they pay.
Yes the Overview & Scrutiny Committee (O&SC) will hold an extraordinary meeting to begin investigating how this mess has come to pass on the 15th June. However, remember O & SC can only recommend something be done. It cannot order it be done. So there is no guarantee anything will be done, except of course those responsible deliver crocodile tears and crocodile excuses, while continuing to earn their salaries and allowances.
Now what would be useful for the O & S committee to recommend for the sake of openness and transparency is that certain elements of the Veolia contract be placed into the public domain.
This could easily be done as other Councils around the country have done.
Camden Borough Council have a contract with Veolia and publish certain documents of the contract on their website to enable their residents to know what to expect from the contract.
Now as Waste information is environmental information, the Council are obliged to proactively disseminate this environmental information under Reg 4 of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. So why haven’t they done this already like Camden have?
Veolia have been awarded the waste contract twice. The first was in 2010, when Veolia Environmental Services were awarded a ten year contract with the then Shepway District Council and Dover District Council
SDC paid £32 million for their part of the contract in 2010, and given contractual prices have risen to near £40 million, we the residents of the district should be able to see large swathes of the contract as it could not be considered to be commercially confidential.
Lets see if our council can keep themselves off ITV Meridian news
Let’s see if our council and the O&SC will raise these important issues.
Let’s see if they truly believe in openness and transparency.
And let’s see if Veolia will resolve these issues immediately and within a fortnight.
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime