Friday, 3 January 2014

The Barnet Council Corporate Risk Register Analysis - Day 2- Waste Management and Sustainability

Today is day two of our review of the Barnet Council Corporate Risk register. This was released by Barnet Council and details all of the risks to economy and the quality of life in Barnet. All of the items on this risk register threaten one of both of these. The Barnet Eye believes that residents should be aware of the huge threats to the Borough, the causes and the steps Barnet Council are putting in place to mitigate them. We also give our readers our views on what should be happening.


Waste Management and Sustainability:
Without consideration of alternative ways of improving recycling and changing behaviours around sustainability, costs will escalate in the future. Procuring value for money waste disposal and
managing waste collection services both need to be considered in order to ensure quality services at an affordable price delivering optimum customer satisfaction.

 Failure to mitigate rising costs of waste disposal.

 Increasing costs to Council exacerbating budget pressures.

In-house delivery with stretch model underway for delivery October 2013. NLWA partnership

Performance Indicators for recycling and customer satisfaction. Waste Project Board for oversight of delivery of plan. One Barnet Programme Management until Business as Usual phase

Impact     Probability    Rating
Major 4   Likely 4        High 16

This is perhaps the risk most likely to cause a hefty Council Tax hike. All London Councils have issues with waste management, in this respect Barnet is not new unique. The question is how well Barnet have done, relative to other councils. What concerns me is this statement "Procuring value for money waste disposal and managing waste collection services both need to be considered in order to ensure quality services at an affordable price delivering optimum customer satisfaction. " This implies that the council have not been considering value for money when looking at these issues. They have not even been considered. Barnet has been aware for years of the escalating costs of dealing with waste management. The current administration has been running the show for 11 years. To find out that they have only just woken up to the fact that value for money waste management needs to be considered is beyond belief. 

Under the previous administration, A Labour/Lib Dem coalition, waste management was given a high priority. Recycling was brought in for the first time and huge strides were made to improve the service. Under the Tories in the 1980's, all bin collections were outsourced to private contractors. This was a disaster. Often waste wasn't collected and there were hundreds of cases of dustcarts bashing into cars and driving off. By the time  Lab/LD came in, they brought the service back in house, the Tories were privately relieved that this huge embarrassment had been dealt with. It is instructive that the in house waste collection service was rated as excellent. When the Tories considered outsourcing it again in 2012, some of the older councillors, remembering how the previous fiasco saw them booted out of office, dug their heels in and demanded retention of the in house service. 

Rubbish collection is probably the council service that most people are aware of. People are extraordinarily resistive to change. When the Council brought in the new recylcing contract and we all got the new brown and blue bins, many people contacted me suggesting I launch a campaign against the new service. I read up all of the papers and concluded that there wasn't much to criticise. Of course, I didn't have access to the confidential commercial papers and negotations. The fact that the risk register implies that ensuring  a quality service at an affordable price was not given primary consideration casts a whole new light on the issue. 

The Barnet Eye has not and will never oppose anything for the sake of it or simply to cause trouble for the council. There are enough real issues to raise, without inventing them or simply bashing the council for the sake of it. The risk register is the Councils own document and it couldn't be more clear that there is a problem. When your council tax goes up after the next election and the Council tells you it is down to the cost of waste management, you will know exactly who is to blame. This administration and their failure, over eleven years, to develop a coherent policy to deal with it. 

No comments: