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East Cambs defends in-house service

By 31/07/2018News

East Cambridgeshire council has said it will be “further revising” the funding for its in-house waste service, despite it not going over-budget in its inaugural first financial quarter results (April-June 18).

However the service, which was set up in April 2018, significantly missed many key performance targets which was put down to operational issues and problems with the previous Veolia-run contract.

East Cambridgeshire waste

East Cambridgeshire district council decided to bring waste collections in-house in 2017

And, the council has revealed that “a further revision of the Base Case for the waste and street cleansing services is being undertaken to ensure that the improvements required will be fundable”.


East Cambridge made the announcement last year that it would bring collections ‘in-house’ once its contract expired with Veolia at the end of March 2018.

The council said as well as saving money on the contract itself, the fact it can skip the EU-required procurement process provides an additional £250,000 in savings.

Missed collections

In the first performance indicator of the new company, called East Cambs Street Scene (ECSS) Ltd, statistics revealed a total of 192 missed collections occurred. Of these, just 52 were ‘closed off’ in the specified response time of 24 hours, giving the service a 27% performance against target score.

For garden waste, a total of 256 collections were missed, with 77 of these within resolved within the one day specified response time, giving ESSC a 30% performance against target percentage. The target for both garden and recycling collections is to achieve an 80% rate.

East Cambridgeshire waste

The new company began operations on April 3 2018

When the announcement was made last year to create the service, one major point pushed by the council was that residents will receive another recycling bin for a one-off £25 charge, with no extra cost to have it collected.

However, it appears just 4 out of 257 requests were delivered on time (10 working days), giving the council a 1.56% rate.

‘Work needs to be done’

The performance report defends the company, explaining that in the first three months of the service, there “has been a period of consolidation and incremental improvement to address issues” that were overlapping from the previous contract.

The council pointed to staffing issues, with the council branding the last contract as “under-resourced”.

In the report, the council said:  “The Veolia commercial approach in the last year of the contract appeared to involve operating the contract on an under resourced basis with circa five vacant posts at any one time. In combination with annual leave requirements for the staff and sickness absence this led to staff being consistently deployed off street cleansing activities on to waste collection rounds.”

The council say it has been necessary to progress the recruitment of new staff to ensure this doesn’t happen. It also said it has had to implement customer service standards and performance targets as they “didn’t exist” before as well as implement a performance framework.

However, the report acknowledged that more needs to be done to meet targets.

“The Quarter 1 Performance Report highlights the state of the waste and street scene services following their insourcing to ECSS and the work that needs to be done following the consolidation of the services to accelerate their improvement to meet the expectations of Members and the customers of the services delivered,” the report added.


The document revealed that the next report for Q2 will include tonnages for weight collected, recycling performance and a summary of the financial performance of the new company.

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Source: Waste Managment