Council, staff were working over the weekend to reduce the accumulated waste collection backlog. An update report has not yet been published but it seems that there is still some waste on the streets of villages like Dunnington.
There one resident reported yesterday that recycling has been on the street since last Tuesday.
All in all, there seems to be something wrong with this, the most basic of public services, which cannot entirely be explained by social distancing and the COVID crisis. The Council’s web site https://www.york.gov.uk/WasteCollectionUpdates often quotes “capacity” issues and “vehicle breakdowns” as the major reasons for unreliability.
So what has senior management been doing to address the problem? Apart from ordering 12 new refuse collection vehicles, there seems to have been little by way of reaction.
The Council’s “Head of Waste” is an official called Shaun Morley. He was appointed last November but has had a very low profile since then. He describes himself as “Interim Transformation Director/Head of Waste at City of York Council”. He is also a Director of a company, SRM Waste Management, which is based in the Shetland Isles. At Company’s House his occupation is listed as “a consultant”.
Senior appointments at the Council – whether permanent or temporary – have to be recorded. We can find nothing on any Council report which explains what the current waste management structure is much less who is supposed to be responsible for what (and at what cost).
Councillors need to satisfy themselves that there is a clear line of responsibility, that key performance indicators are being monitored and that there is a transparent exception reporting process.
It seems to us that workers in the Councils waste collection activity area have generally performed well particularly over the COVID lockdown period.
It increasingly appears that this may be despite, rather than because of, senior management decisions.