News : Birmingham Council Bin Complaints Ignored After 24 Hours
Birmingham, UK, September, 2015 -- Residents have just one day to complain their wheelie bin was missed otherwise it will not be recorded by council computer system
A council pledge to pick up missed bins and black bags on time has faltered because of a ‘computer says no’ flaw in the complaints system.
Residents who fail to report a missed collection within 24 hours of the bin lorry not showing up cannot complain to the council about it.
Details of the issue emerged as the council’s Labour cabinet also heard that there had been serious problems with the roll-out of new wheelie bins in Perry Barr leading to scores of recycling bins not being picked up.
Under the new Birmingham Promise policy , the council pledged to collect a missed bag or bin within three days of it being reported to them - but only if the complaint was made within a day of the regular collection.
But opposition Conservative leader Robert Alden pointed out that many residents do not know the rubbish has been left until they return home from work in the evening - and they are in the habit of leaving it for second day as often refuse collectors will do a follow up round if there have been hold ups.
"By the time they make a complaint it is too late and the call centre will not record the complaint. The council is using the statistics to fudge the situation on the ground."
A report to cabinet the council is picking up almost 85 per cent of missed collections within the three day deadline, and that this has been rising every month.
Labour deputy leader Ian Ward, responsible for the Birmingham Promise, agreed that there has been a problem with the recording of complaints and that it would be rectified.
In a separate complaint Perry Barr councillor Jon Hunt (Lib Dem) pointed out that a recycling rates were falling even though they had been told they would increase following the roll out of wheelie bins. He too complained about missed collections in his ward.
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Cabinet member responsible for bins Lisa Trickett replied that there had been problems, but blamed officials.
"It is unacceptable we still haven’t regularised collection of recycling in the Perry Barr roll out." She added that the problems were not the result of ‘a policy decision, but a process put in place by officers which restricted people’s ability to report missed collections during the roll out period."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, September 28, 2015