The borough’s waste collection contractor, Amey, has issued an unreserved apology for the inadequate service they provided to residents when they took over the contract from Veolia earlier this Summer.
Cllr Barry Fairbank, the Environment Portfolio Holder responsible for waste collection in Elmbridge says that “Amey’s initial response to the failings was simply not good enough”. He reports that the borough is in final discussions about compensation for not fulfilling contractual agreements in the initial weeks which caused such widespread upset and anger, leading to a backlog of uncollected household, food and garden waste in some streets.
Cllr Fairbank added “For weeks, councillors in many wards in Elmbridge were getting large numbers of complaints from residents about missed bins or late collections. Councillors and officers were working round the clock to resolve the problems and ensure that Amey’s crews returned to the properties that were being missed. My concern was how quickly I could ensure that Amey acknowledged the level of poor performance and what they would do to fix it as quickly as possible. Thanks to our concerted efforts Amey are now up to speed and we are pressing for further improvements”.
At a recent council Committee meeting Rob Edmondson, Managing Director of Amey, the contractor appointed on 3 June to collect Elmbridge’s rubbish agreed that the early performance was not good enough and he offered a sincere apology for the inconvenience to residents and the company’s failure to meet the terms of the contract. Amey accepted full responsibility for the initial service failings and confirmed that these were operational matters that they have now put right.
Amey had promised the borough that the transition from the previous contractor, Veolia,would be ‘seamless’ and that the service would show an improvement in performance from day one. Acutely aware of their poor performance, Amey are now investing in additional vehicles and additional people, above and beyond the bid level in order to meet the full terms of the contract.
The contract with Amey involves four authorities in Surrey: Elmbridge, Woking, Mole Valley and Surrey Heath. Four years ago these authorities embarked on a procurement process for a joint waste collection contract – heralded as both more efficient and higher quality, saving taxpayers £2million a year overall. Elmbridge was the first authority to mobilise and Woking came on board with Amey two weeks ago.
Councillor Andrew Davis, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, explains that Elmbridge paid the price of being first. “Joint Waste Solutions which is the interface between Amey and all four authorities has worked hard to ensure that Amey sorts its operational problems while Elmbridge Officers and Councillors have worked tirelessly to help residents with their difficulties.”
As a result of this, and our insisting that Amey not only put its house in order but learns from its mistakes, the roll out in Woking has been successful and the 99.9% bin emptying rate has been achieved.
We were promised a better service, and that is what the people of Elmbridge are going to get. Our promise is that we will be holding Amey to account to deliver the service we all deserve.