This covering report represents a final review of the performance of the Joint Venture from the perspective of the Council client for the 2020/2021 financial year. It is accompanied by an update on the Joint Venture’s achievements and financial performance prepared by the Partnership Director at Medway Norse.
This report was considered by Cabinet on 8 June 2021.
The Committee considered a report which represented a final review of the performance of the Joint Venture from the perspective of the Council client for 2020/21 financial year. The report was accompanied by an update on the Joint Venture’s achievements and financial performance prepared by the Partnership Director at Medway Norse.
Members raised the following issues which were discussed:
· Household waste recycling centres – A Member praised the booking system which had reduced queues and the amount of rubbish dumped at the roadside.
· Dog waste bins – Responding to a Member’s concerns about overflowing bins, the Partnership Director noted the suggestion that larger bins be provided and responded that in some cases, dog waste bags were left on top of a bin which was not full.
· Opportunity to increase the use of electric/hybrid vehicles based at the new depot – The Partnership Director confirmed that the new depot included multiple vehicle charging points.
· No Mow May - The Partnership Director acknowledged the issues that had been created by No mow May. He added that wild flower planting was currently under discussion.
· Update on employment tribunals – The Partnership Director reported that two were still outstanding and that Norse remained confident that the position it took was correct.
· Use of Norse services by registered social landlords – The Partnership Director advised that conversations were ongoing regarding facilities management, general and grounds maintenance.
· Successful re-tender exercises – The Partnership Director reported that there was a healthy mix with some contacts being retained and some new ones being gained. Even if a tender had been lost, Norse were often commended in exit interviews.
· Incident in Chatham High Street – The Partnership Director stressed that this incident did not take place during work time.
· Management of bins by housing providers – The Partnership Director explained the challenges when refuse staff had to collect the bins from storage areas or they were not accessible, and this issue was currently under discussion.
· Disposal/upcycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment – The Partnership Director advised that this was a matter for the Council although Norse processed items that were taken to the household waste recycling centres (HWRCs). Discussions were ongoing on various initiatives to encourage upcycling via the HWRCs.
· Street cleansing – In response to concerns expressed regarding the frequency of litter inspection audits which, according to a later item on the agenda, amounted to an average of four and a half inspections per ward per month, the Partnership Director advised that the frequency of Norse’s own inspection audits carried out by its inspectors, was higher.
· Loss of trees – The Partnership Director assured Members that trees were only removed for health and safety reasons. Over the past year, action had been taken to increase the number of trees planted.
· Frequency of collections in the Chatham Intra area – Responding to a question on whether the frequency of collections could be increased from three times a week to daily, the Partnership Director said that this was a funding issue and was part of the regular discussions held with the Council.
· Weed spraying in block paved areas – The Partnership Director explained that Norse always tried to undertake weed spraying early but this year, due to regular periods of rainfall, the effectiveness of the treatment process had been compromised. As a result, Norse staff were having to scrape more weeds from the pavements.
· Praise for Norse Staff – Picking up on the number of Members who had praised Norse staff, both operational and administrative, during the discussion, the Chairman asked the Partnership Director to cascade the gratitude of all elected Members to Norse staff for the incredible work they had done in such challenging circumstances.
The Committee noted the contents of the report and its Appendix.