Two more weeks of chaos as report lifts lid on bins fiasco

Lesley Hinds meets two of Edinburgh's binmen. Picture Neil Hanna
Lesley Hinds meets two of Edinburgh's binmen. Picture Neil Hanna
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ENVIRONMENT chiefs have warned that the city’s bin fiasco is set to run for at least another fortnight.

It comes as a new report revealed collection crews had not been told the correct location of bins or how to access shelters within housing developments, while the scale and size of several routes has led to missed uplifts and delays.

A review has since taken place and new arrangements are being put in place in 
a bid to reduce the number of complaints from city residents.

Up-to-date paperwork for crews detailing the location of every bin in the city is being compiled on a daily basis and necessary keys and access codes to shelters are being made available.

Route sizes are also to be revised by officials and a new IT system is to be installed after the council’s complaint handling was found to be “hampered by inadequate ICT systems” – at its peak calls to the council’s hotline doubled to 1600 calls a day from irate city residents.

Environment leader Lesley Hinds has admitted that while matters had started to 
“settle down” it could still take weeks for a more “acceptable level” to be reached.

She said: “This has been the biggest change to the service in decades. We recognise there are individuals and areas particularly affected by some of the problems and we’re working hard to rectify the 
situation.

“The report identifies a number of points that need addressing, such as issues with routes, and in the next few weeks we hope to see things settle down.”

Union chiefs insisted that their members were doing all they could to implement the new changes despite “systemic management issues” which have seen the views of experienced binmen ignored.

Peter Lawson, of Unite, said: “The main issue with routes at the moment is that some are bigger than others.

“The routes that are causing the problems are ones 
that union members had no input in organising, binmen with years 
of experience were never asked to give an opinion.

“These issues are now being worked out through a newly formed joint worker and mnagement committee.”

Fellow union official John Stevenson, of Unison, added: “The best people to ask about bins are those on the ground and they should really have been asked earlier.

“One of the biggest grumbles from our members is that they are receiving stick from the public for something they didn’t design. At present the main issue is to get all the problems ironed out and sorted.”

In a report due to appear before councillors tomorrow, Mark Turley, director of the communities department, wrote: “There have been some problems with the accuracy of bin locations on routing schedules given to collection crews leading to some missed 
collections.

“However routing schedules are updated daily with the more accurate and detailed information.”

THE KEY POINTS

THERE are a number of

reasons for the challenges faced by bin men on routes, including:

Crew familiarity with new routes and the location of development bin shelters and trade waste bins: On large developments, complex numbering systems make it difficult to find bin shelters and trade waste bins are often located remotely from the premise that they serve. Additional information on bin shelter and trade waste locations is being added to schedules.

Access arrangements: Access to bin shelters in developments often requires keys or electronic keypad access codes. The management of these access arrangements was sometimes poor with crews not being given the correct key or keypad code. A survey of housing developments has now been carried out to ensure that accurate information on both bin shelter location and access arrangements has been recorded and passed on to collection crews.

Route size: Although it is still too early to reach any firm conclusions, the size of some of these routes may need to be revised in order to ensure route completion.