Thorpe introduced the officers that were in attendance. R Hall is
the new recycling advisor on the flat recycling project and has
also visited all 70 schools in the borough to help and advise them
on recycling. H Butterworth has been in the department for six
months and has been working on educational awareness and has
produced a new letter that replaces WasteWire. C Thorpe then ran through the highlights
of the report:
- The additional garden waste service now has 130 green bins and 591 subscriptions which has generated £33,000 in extra income. The refuse vehicles are recording data from garden waste collections to identify households that may benefit from the extra service and the department has sent letters to them.
- The Love Food, Hate Waste campaign has been very successful this year with 55 households taking part.
- The Clean, Safe and Green team have been maintaining the gateways to the borough and have retained all the Green Flags for the parks.
- A Lead Gardener has been employed for the Water Gardens and there will soon be an advert for an apprenticeship.
- Page 26 of the report gives a sickness update. C Thorpe advised that there was a mistake in the report, it should say 68 days in June not 8.
- In relation to the performance indicators, there is only one red in relation to complaints. The complaints system changed and the department couldn’t get access to the system.
Councillor Timmis referred to page 26 and said that long term
sickness was still pretty high. She asked what was being done to
combat stress and anxiety in the department.
C Thorpe said managers are very supportive of staff. They are referred to Occupational Health and offered counselling sessions. In one case, a member of staff had experienced a death of a close relative so they were put on sick pay because a loss of wages would have placed them at risk of financial difficulty.
Councillor Timmis asked if the sickness levels were higher than other Council departments.
C Thorpe said it was to be expected simply because they have a larger number of employees.
Councillor Birnie said the committee has seen this before and the nature of the work being outside and heavy manual work then these sickness levels are to be expected.
Councillor Riddick referred to the gateways into the borough and
said they were clean, tidy and presentable. However, fly posting
was ruining the hard work especially at the Two Waters junction and
Magic Roundabout. There has been a huge increase in posters for
circuses and fairs which do not seemed to be removed. He asked if
this was something the council could do.
C Thorpe said that staff were told to remove them as they come across them. However, in some instances, the department must liaise with the planning department and there is certain legislation surrounding fly posting.
J Doe said it depends where the notice is placed. If they are on highway structures then they can be removed but they have a right to display them if it is on private land. It is difficult to differentiate between helpful adverts for events and those that aren’t so helpful like those touting for trade.
Councillor Matthews asked if they could be removed once the event that was being advertised had passed.
J Doe said he would take the point away but it was also a matter of resources in the departments.
Councillor Hicks referred back to the sickness in the
department. He said it was worrying that a lot of reasons for
sickness were not musculoskeletal
C Thorpe said he could assure members that they work closely to support staff.
Councillor Marshall pointed out that stress and anxiety sometimes means a long time off work – it only takes one member of staff to be off for this reason and it will affect the sickness figures.
That the Strategic Planning and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee approve the report.