National cuts to the education budget was not the only Motion put forward by
the Labour Group at the Full Council meeting nearly two weeks ago; Councillor
Stefano Borella (Slade Green and North End) put forward another critical of the
performance of Serco, the Council’s waste contractor.
I should declare an interest, I only use the green and brown waste services but I have no complaints at all.
It would appear that not everyone is so lucky. Councillor Borella reminded the Council that it was Labour that launched recycling services in Bexley as long ago as 1994 with paper and extended it to plastic, tin cans, paper, garden waste and food between 2002 and 2006. The service has since progressed to being best in London.
Serco’s contract has been extended until at least 2021 and revised collection arrangements are to be introduced later this year. The charge for the very profitable garden waste service will rise by £5. Stefano was a member of the sub-Committee that reached those decisions but he denied the claim made several times by Conservative Members that he was fully supportive of them. Finance had been the main consideration not service to the public. Serco’s budget had been cut by £255,000. Fly tipping incidents had doubled in the past two years and bin lorry drivers were now being paid less than £10 an hour.
He did not want to see Serco’s contract extended for what he said was their failure and would prefer a Council controlled trading company.
Councillor Sally Hinkley (Belvedere) seconded the Motion and had prepared a list of complaints made by residents.
• Every week I have to call them about forgetting one bin or another. There are maggots but every week they forget.
• My mother is disabled and on assisted collections but every week they leave the bins. We report it and are told they will look into it.
• They only do the job properly on main roads.
• They love to throw the recycling bins anywhere.
• My food bin is not collected and it stinks.
• The green bin was not collected last time either.
• Get rid of Serco.
• Bexley Council are the pits, worst Council for everyone.
• Don’t get me started. Every week for six months I’ve been phoning them.
• If they spill anything they don’t bother to pick it up.
• The Council makes all the right noises and then awards them a new contract.
• My plastics were not collected, Phoned Council who said they would be collected. They weren’t.
• It’s a terrible service.
• They failed to collect our bin but the Council said they had. Err?
• They scattered our rubbish everywhere.
• Our recycling has been missed for two weeks.
Note: This list has been edited down and comments shortened.
Councillor Hinkley went on to say that Serco is the public face of Bexley Council and they are not good enough and in part the cause was the lack of job security at Serco. Until that problem is resolved “we will never ever get a decent service from Serco”. Like Councillor Borella before her she advocated taking the service back in house.
Councillor Seymour (Conservative, Crayford) Chairman of the Places Overview and Scrutiny Committee moved that the Motion be taken on board by his Committee. Councillor Borella believed his Motion deserved a debate. The Mayor disagreed and that was the end of that. All the Conservatives kicked the Motion out however the likelihood is that the Scrutiny Committee will not be uncritical of Serco either.