Buckinghamshire Council has issued a full apology for the delays in bin collection. Bosses also apologized for keeping people on the phone for long periods as they tried to complain about missed collections.
Apologies were issued especially to those who live in the south. Cabinet member for climate change and the environment, Cllr Gareth Williams, says ‘smartness’ has not passed from old teams to new ones after Veolia took over the contract a year and a half ago . Cllr Williams said care homes, schools and collections ‘behind homes’ had been ‘particular’ issues and people had become ‘angry’.
He also said his holiday had been “completely ruined” by the “high volume of complaints”, adding that more drivers and loaders had been brought in along with Veolia supervisors and council officials. Cllr Williams said the Bucks Council was also looking at ways to make it “easier to report online trash cans”.
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He said the failure was “really unacceptable”. Cabinet Member for Accessible Housing and Resources, Cllr John Chilver added that he was aware of longer than usual wait times when contacting the council. He said the authority had received more than 3,000 calls by 3 p.m. on June 6, when it normally receives around 1,500.
“I want to apologize to anyone who missed any bins, which particularly affected those in the south county,” said Cllr Williams. Those who tried to report it online and struggled, those who had unacceptable expectations in call centers and for members and advisors who had to endure a much higher than acceptable number of correspondence, often angry.
“Holidays, like mine, completely ruined by the volume of complaints we’ve had. What’s happened here is […]we had a reorganization round that took place in the south of the county […] the contractor (Veolia) has had this contract for about a year and a half.
“People’s homes, schools, alleyways, collections behind homes, those are the particular areas that seem to have been a recurring problem. For some reason the intelligence was not passed on effectively to new crews as well that they should have been.
“We had to have very regular contact with the contractor. They have 30% more drivers and chargers to try to solve this problem. We have had an increase in contact center contact and complaints. really unacceptable, it caused a lot of distress, it’s something that we are evaluating from the ground up and I’m overseeing as well.
“We have Veolia supervisors today. We also have a board contract management officer who does the follow-up. We will make it easier to report bins online […]because it is really an unacceptable situation.