More light shone by York Council on contracts

More details are being made available of a contract for the supply of furniture and “white goods” (e.g. fridges)  to Universal Credit claimants in York.  

It is part of the York Financial Assistance scheme, which is designed to help the poorest members of  our community cope with budgeting pressures.

The contract is expected to be worth over £250,000.

Once again the Executive member (Nigel Ayre) has agreed to consider this proposal at a public decision meeting which is being held on 16th December.  

Although the decision to seek tenders for this service isn’t particularly controversial, and any expenditure will be within budget allocations, the move to publish background papers will be welcomed by many taxpayers.

Hopefully other Executive Councillors will adopt a similar approach to transparency in the  future.

The cost of new contracts entered into by the York Council can be viewed on a national register via this link https://procontract.due-north.com/ContractsRegister/Index

York Community Furniture Store

The Community Furniture Store (CFS) is the current provider of household goods for the York Financial Assistance Scheme (YFAS). The scheme, which is funded by City of York Council, provides basic furnishing for people in need as a result of a urgent personal circumstances.

More details can be found by clicking here

The York CFS is located at the Raylor Centre in James Street. It also has branches in Selby and Scarborough.

Residents are urged to donate any unused items of furniture, which are in good condition, to the scheme. The CFS arranges to pick up the items.

Background information published by Council

Recycling bins overflowing at shopping centre

We hope that the various charities which have clothes and shoe banks at various locations around the City will check that they are not full. The Christmas period tends to be a busy one for recycling. It is frustrating for residents who try to do the right thing and give the clothes to a good cause.

Clothes banks at the Acomb Wood Drive shopping centre are full

NB. The Council are making their final green bin emptying collections in most areas this week. Green bin emptying will start again in April

Good time to secure your recycling

The Council said yesterday (Tuesday) that it had failed to collect recycling from Tedder Road and Slessor Road. They blamed a vehicle breakdown.

Notice on Council web site Tuesday 29th October 2019

The Council says that they will call back to collect the recycling on SATURDAY.

We suspect that message may have not got back to residents. Most have left their recycling on the street. Normally this might not matter – if it was secured from wind and animal attacks – but with the arrival of “Mischief Night” we think residents would be wise to put the recycling in a secure place.

Recycling awaiting collection

Often the Council says that it will catch up with collections on the next working day; but not in this case. This is confusing for residents.

It does raise several questions about how effective the Councils communications channels are. Failings in the waste collection service this summer have been so frequent it almost requires a daily update from them using all social media channels.

The Council might also issue regular updates indicating when more reliable vehicles, with adequate capacity, will be delivered.

Missed bin updates are posted on this link (click) at around 5:00pm each day

We’ve reported the overgrowing thorn bush which is obstructing the entrance to the Chesney Field cycle track

Waste collection review in York

Un-emptied bins in Foxwood 2012
Against the background of chronic unreliability on refuse collections in the City, it was hoped that a long outstanding review would offer some hope of improvement.

The review report has now been published (click).

The report starts by saying “Decisions about waste collection methodology impact upon the specification of replacement waste vehicles, the replacement of which is imperative to the sustainability of the service”

In truth, new vehicles should have been purchased months ago. They weren’t and as a result breakdown are a major cause of the decline in reliability standards. The report offers little hope of early, decisive action.

The report concludes that separate food waste collection is not necessary. This is because food waste forms part of the anaerobic digestion process at the Allerton processing site. It is part of a process which results in power being generated from waste.

Similar arguments are advanced against the mixed collection of recyclables.

The report talks about a further review of recycling bring banks “to stop collecting the same materials as door step collection, but focus on materials not collected at the door step” The authors seems to be oblivious to the fact that many residents are forced to use the bring banks because of lack of capacity in the doorstep service.

“The current recycling arrangements are that Yorwaste process the recylclates at the Harewood Whin Material Recycling Facility and sell the products to market. The current gross cost of recycling is £725k however this is offset by the recyclate sales that total c£600k”.

The report fails to identify the “lead in time” for the purchase of new vehicles. There are no milestones.  It lacks any analysis of the number of missed bin collections or their causes. It fails to say when sustained improvement could be expected.

Altogether it amounts a bit of public posturing with no apology to the taxpayers who are being inconvenienced each day by vehicle breakdowns and trucks reaching their capacity limits.

Today’s failure report reveals that green waste wasn’t collected from part of the Heworth area because of inadequate “vehicle capacity”

Daily reports on missed bin collections can be found via this link click

More missed bins

Council needs to “come clean” about the extent of its resourcing problems

Another day and another raft of missed bin collections.

Mostly the failures are down to inadequate staffing, unreliable vehicles and full lorries.

Yet the Council has so far failed to say when replacement vehicles will arrive in the city.

…and there is a growing suspicion that other services are being depleted in a desperate attempt to plug the gaps in the waste collection service. One estate still has litter strewn around from collections which took place weeks ago.

No post recycling litter pick today (or for some time)
Many litter bins are overflowing

Latest missed bin collections in York

Its mainly Haxby that missed out on recycling collections today (inadequate vehicle capacity). Some might feel that putting on an additional or larger vehicle on the round would be the obvious solution to this long standing issue. The collections will be rescheduled for Monday. This also applies to missed garden waste in Pinfold Court and recycling in Bishopdale Way

Outstanding household waste collections will take place in Gower Road tomorrow (Saturday)

Rather awkwardly the Council has started delivery of their “Our City” newspaper. The, £10,000 a time rag, also includes a pull out supplement detailing the merits of the Council’s recycling processes.

Residents will not find any performance data indicating the number of recycling collections that the Council misses nor the timetable for remedying issues with driver recruitment, staff vacancies, unreliable vehicles or truck capacity.

No doubt some residents in Haxby will immediately hurl the leaflets into the recycling box – before remembering that it won’t now be collected for at least 3 days!

Missed green bin emptying in Westfield today

Collections were missed in the Thoresby Road part of Westfield Ward today. A vehicle fault was blamed

Council officials have now written to concerned Councillors about the chronic unreliability of the bin emptying service. It has gone in 3 short years from being one of the most praised public services in the city to one of the most criticised.

Pressures on the service have contributed to an increase in litter drift in many areas with post round tidy up sometimes being missed out.

Officials say the problems are mainly caused by “an ageing fleet (directly linked to breakdowns), driver shortages and staff sickness”

“When the service is under pressure, we prioritise household waste collections followed by recycling and then garden waste”

“We are in the process of a wholescale fleet replacement. In the 10 years since the last vehicles were purchased the city has expanded so we need to account for this, however York is a historical city which is both beautiful and incredibly difficult to service in some areas when it comes to waste collection. I want to ensure that the next fleet of vehicles are capable of serving all areas of the city in the safest possible way. Health and safety for staff and residents is top of our agenda”.

“Staffing the service will continue to be a challenge, particularly when it comes to HGV drivers. This is a national problem and experienced by our surrounding Council areas. However, this is also exacerbated in York as we simply don’t have the industries to support this. However, we are investing significantly in developing our own staff through apprenticeship programmes and development opportunities. Working on the frontline in all weather is not a job for the faint hearted. One of the reasons that ‘new’ staff turnover is high is that people underestimate how demanding the job is”.

Unfortunately the service does not seem to have published an improvement programme with milestones. No figures are produced indicating the number of bins that aren’t emptied each day, so it is impossible to test whether the claimed “improvement trajectory” is a reality.

Critically officials are staying tight lipping about when new vehicles are expected in the City or indeed if they have even been ordered.

Many will be surprised that adequate spare resources did not form part of the original vehicle leasing deal.

In other parts of the world more automation has been tried with mixed results

Die Horibilis

Been a horrible day for the Council with many more missed bin collections.

Recycling collections were missed in Haxby, New Earswick, Strensall and Wigginton.

Green waste bins weren’t emptied in Haxby, Wigginton and Strensall. The bins not emptied in Woodthorpe on Tuesday still haven’t been collected.

Household waste wasn’t collected in part of Holgate (blocked access).

Sources inside the Council point to continuing difficulties in recruiting staff including drivers. There has still not been any statement from the Council leadership about this issue or why replacement vehicles haven’t been introduced into the fleet.