Monday 22 July 2024
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Council paid resident £100 compensation over missed garden bin collections

Gedling Borough Council has agreed to pay a resident £100 in compensation after a complaint was upheld by the Local Government Ombudsman about repeated missed bin collections.

The verdict, listed as maladministration and injustice, found “repeated failures” by the Labour-led authority to ensure a resident’s garden waste bins were collected following several complaints made against the council.

The initial complaint came in July 2020 when the affected resident, listed in reports as Mr D, contacted the authority about two missed garden waste bin collections.

A second complaint was made in September 2021 about further collections being missed, with Mr D stating he was given “different reasons why the bin was not collected”.

These reasons included obstruction of the street, something Mr D “felt was incorrect”, with the authority going on to admit “there were no obstructions causing missed collections on his street”.

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The council says it issued two separate apologies to Mr D, including an indication that some service disruptions were caused by Covid-19, and that a waste supervisor would monitor collections from his property on a weekly basis.

The authority also admitted the problem had been with the “briefing of collection crews”, before further complaints about missed collections were submitted in October and November 2021.

These complaints escalated his concerns with the authority to the Local Government Ombudsman.

After investigations of the case, an Ombudsman inspector upheld Mr D’s complaint and found the council’s handling of the situation had been “poor”.

The inspector recommended the authority should pay the resident £100 in compensation and refund him for his annual garden bin payments in 2020 and 2021.

The council has accepted these recommendations and accepted fault in handling Mr D’s complaints.

In a report, the Ombudsman inspector said: “The council accepts its handling of this case has been poor.

“It says the problems were partly due to lockdown and the driver on Mr D’s route failed to report missed collections. The council took action with the staff member.

“However, there were clearly other issues including Mr D being given false reasons for why collections had been missed and the council failing to escalate supervision of the route after several missed collections.

“As a result of Mr D pursuing his case, the council has now provided additional training to officers to prevent a recurrence of the issues.”

It adds: “The repeated failures by the council, in this case, meant Mr D incurred unnecessary time and trouble pursuing missed collections. He paid for a service which was not properly provided.”

Responding to the verdict, the authority says there is a review of the waste management software used at the council.

A business case is being finalised for a new system, which the authority says will “improve the process of missed bins by crews”.

A council report says: “This should reduce the need for customers to self-report missed collections as any issues will be captured during rounds and logged on the system.

“In the interim, a review of the waste service complaints management process is also being completed to identify and secure ongoing service improvements.”

In the report, the authority’s monitoring officer added: “Through 2020 and 2021, due to Covid-19, the waste collection service had been operating with reduced resources and had utilised staff who were unfamiliar with collection routes and reporting systems leading to some missed collections.

“The Council accepted that the service was not satisfactory and did offer reimbursement of garden waste charges to Mr D for 2020 and 2021 following the Ombudsman’s involvement.

“Additional training was also given to crews to prevent future incidents.”

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