To receive a briefing and update on the progress made towards implementing the target operating model of the waste contract from Serco Officers.
The DFC introduced the briefing and informed Members that it had been two years since Serco had taken over the contract, with core service delivery maintained under exceptional circumstances during the Covid-19 Pandemic. He added that the target operating model (TOM) contained two aspects relating to collections and additional added value items. It was noted that the new collections TOM which had previously been reported to be live from June had been delayed, and was now expected to launch in September, as agreed by the Council to avoid difficulties during the summer season. The DFC noted that from a residents perspective, there had been no disruption in service, as weekly collections continued as expected. He added that the impact of delaying the roll-out of the new collections TOM was carried by Serco and they accepted responsibility for this. It was noted that the Gap analysis work discussed previously had made significant progress, with a number of issues now complete, on-track to being delivered, or deemed as no longer deliverable. Roadside litter-picking was given as an example, which had been impacted by changes to Health and Safety legislation. He added that despite these issues, core services and collections had continued to be delivered to a satisfactory standard.
Questions and Discussion
i. The SRD stated that as a result of the tripartite agreement, rollout of the new collections TOM had to be staggered between each Council, and whilst efforts had been made to bring the North Norfolk launch forward to June, this had not been possible, and was therefore delayed until after summer. He added that there needed to be approximately two months between the rollout in each District, to account for settling-in and resolution of any initial issues.
ii. The SRD stated that in terms of performance, March had been the best month to date, with only 27 of 250k collections missed, which equated to a 99.9% successful collection rate. He added that continuing to operate the old collections model did create additional costs for Serco, but did not impact residents, and it was therefore in Serco’s best interest to implement the new TOM as soon as realistically possible.
iii. Cllr S Penfold asked how the DFC would rate Serco’s performance in delivery of the overall contract on a scale of 1-5. The DFC replied that on the whole, whilst Serco had not delivered the full service outlined in the contract from the outset, performance had still been satisfactory given the impact of the Pandemic, and on that basis he would rate performance as good.
iv. Cllr C Cushing asked what benefits would be realised for residents and Serco once the new collections TOM had been implemented. The SCM replied that the TOM would rectify a number of issues relating to property and trade growth, which were co-mingled collections. She added that this growth had brought the current collection model to capacity, and reorganising routes to make collections more evenly spread would help to better distribute workload across the collection teams. It was noted that the new collections TOM would also be future-proofed, to create additional capacity for future anticipated growth in the District. The SCM noted that further benefits would include a reduction in the carbon footprint of collections, a reduction in costs and the amount of overtime required by staff which would improve work-life balance. She added that the new routes would also allow collections teams to rectify issues such as missed collections much faster, as vehicles would remain focused in smaller areas.
v. In response to a question from Cllr N Housden, it was confirmed that the first KPI for Serco was achievement of the ISO standard which was now complete, with an audit due in April. The SCM added that a recent audit for the Kings Lynn service had shown that Serco were the first contractor in the area to achieve 100% pass with no issues, with the same model used across all three Districts. Cllr N Housden referred to emergency planning and asked whether any further action had been taken in response to fuel shortages. The SCM replied that the fuel supply tank was now in the process of being installed, with the first delivery of fuel booked for the 20th April to supply 24k litres of fuel. She added that Serco had also put in place additional measures such as establishing other means of purchasing fuel from any station within the District, and creating a call system to establish where supplies were available to ensure vehicles were filled every day. It was noted that the Breckland fuel tank had already been installed, and this could be used for other Districts if required.
vi. Cllr S Penfold asked whether September was a target date for implementation of the new collections TOM, or whether this was confirmed. The SRM replied that Serco were confident that this date would be achieved, as this was well beyond the originally planned implementation date, and delaying further would generate additional costs for Serco. The SCM added that Breckland had implemented the new TOM in March without delay, and the benefits were already being seen.
vii. The Chairman noted that performance, customer satisfaction and a commitment to implementing the new TOM were key to demonstrating a good working relationship between Serco and the Council. The DSGOS suggested that it could be helpful to receive an update in September on whether the TOM had been implemented as planned. The DFC suggested that an all Member briefing could be arranged a month prior to the implementation date to fully explain the expected changes to Members, with approximately 70% of collection days expected to change. It was suggested that the all Member briefing could be held in addition to a review of the implementation in September or October, following the settling-in period. The Chairman suggested it could also be useful to have a brief verbal update in July to provide reassurance that implementation remained on track.
1. To note the briefing.
1. Director for Communities to provide update on implementation of the new collections target operating model at July O&S meeting.
2. Review implementation of new collections target operating model at October O&S meeting.