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Cheltenham Borough Council will "learn lessons" from cancellation of rubbish collections

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: January 28, 2013

  • Saturday's Echo front page

  • Councillor Roger Whyborn

Comments (8)

THERE are "lessons to be learnt" from the rubbish collection cancellations of the past two weeks, the borough council has agreed.

Residents have been left angry in the wake of the suspension of the service on Friday, January 18, with litter piling up in the streets and wheelie bins overflowing because of the snow.

As a result, a review of the events of the past fortnight is going to be undertaken by the authority while another emergency scrutiny report has been asked for by opposition councillors wanting to examine what went wrong.

Councillor Roger Whyborn (LD, Up Hatherley), cabinet member for sustainability, said he had already asked officers to conduct a review.

He said: "We will conduct a review – what went well, what went badly and what we could do better in the future.

"This is the first snow emergency we have had since April 2011 so it would be entirely right and proper to look at the lessons learned.

"The scrutiny is entitled to do this too but I have already asked officers to look at this and that is routine.

"I want to do it right, rather than fast and sensationalised."

Ubico, the waste contractor which collects rubbish on behalf of both Cheltenham Borough Council and Cotswold District Council, made the decision to suspend collections on health and safety grounds because of icy roads and pavements.

Councillor Andrew Chard, who sits on the borough council's Ubico scrutiny task committee, has called for an emergency meeting to discuss the issue in detail. He wants to compile a special report examining what happened.

Mr Chard said: "We want to know why people's rubbish wasn't being collected last week, particularly in the centre of town and towards the end of the week even in some of the outer districts of the town.

"Stroud managed to collect their rubbish so where was Cheltenham? Why was Ubico in bed?

"Because of Christmas, some people will have gone four weeks before having their rubbish collected. They should be going around this week and doing more at the very least to catch up rather than them acting as if last week didn't happen. I think it is disgraceful quite frankly and it is a health hazard."

Ubico has said that collections will resume as normal today.

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8 comments

  • CheltenhamMo  |  January 28 2013, 6:18PM

    simply bad management

    Rate   1
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  • tishwash  |  January 28 2013, 5:56PM

    "emergency scrutiny report" what's the emergency ? take your time and don't waste money on a false emergency

    Rate   3
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  • Bellyflop  |  January 28 2013, 5:29PM

    When it is announced that collections have been cancelled do residents still leave their re cycle boxes and bins out on pavements to cause even more litter. Most people can make some personal effort and take re cycle items to the collection points at supermarkets when they go to shop or to the collection centre in Swindon Road. Unfortunately most people are too lazy.

    Rate   -6
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  • AndyPrestbury  |  January 28 2013, 5:07PM

    Ubico Limited is a wholly owned company of Cheltenham Borough Council and Cotswold District Council. It is not in either CBC or CDC interest to come down on Ubico like a ton of bricks for a poor service because it affects their commerical interests as they want to sell Ubico spare capacity to other councils. Maybe the fact that CBC and CDC owning Ubico Limited are hindering the process of getting best service and value for money. Maybe the lesson learned will be councils should get on with running council services and not trying to set up commerical companies which do not really operate within the tendering framework.

    Rate   8
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  • Justica  |  January 28 2013, 4:19PM

    This is another example of how 'contracting out' instead of saving money just leads to a shoddy service. We have hospitals that weren't cleaned properly causing MRSA and where do you start with railways ? That hackneyed phrase 'lessons have been learnt' is PR speke for shut up and go away, this will blow over.

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  • Matt1006  |  January 28 2013, 3:45PM

    I'd like to know what the refuse collectors were actually doing all last week, whilst the wagons were parked in the depot. They should have been re-tasked, most suitably helping to clear snow, gritting etc. But as they're presumably employees of Ubico and not CBC / CDC, I'm guessing they weren't available to the Councils for alternative works. In which case I suspect the Council Tax payer has paid for the service as normal, with nothing to show for it. Lessons do need to be learned, and if the T&C's of the Ubico contracts are badly written to allow for such withdrawal of service for a whole week - when they could have been back safely working by Wednesday, if not sooner - then whoever agreed to the contract needs to be shown the door, and somebody with some nous needs to re-write it ASAP. Making sure (if not already in the contract) that the staff can be re-tasked onto other work by the Council, so they require it. Lets hope we don't get another spell of snow this winter, or otherwise this will happen again, as lesson learning will take ages to happen.

    Rate   2
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  • DEvans  |  January 28 2013, 2:57PM

    It is 2013. If I hear another peroson in authority and responsible for services that 'Lessons must be learned'' I AM GOING TO SCREAM!!!!!!!! Plese can someone in TIG / CBC explain to me this... If I leave my bin open by more than a centimeter then the council refuse the refuse. If the bins are overflowing beacuse of raging incompetence - then it all gets taken away.

    Rate   7
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  • Shireresident  |  January 28 2013, 11:14AM

    Looks like Cheltenham needs to examine the small print in its' contract with Ubico. Terms and conditions and get out clauses may need to be reviewed when it comes up for renewal. Pity this wasn't looked at with more care initially.

    Rate   2
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