Borough Council shows what Garbage in, Garbage Out really means

July 20, 2016 12:00 AM
By Cllr Helen Quenet

On Monday 4th July, newly elected Cllr Helen Quenet attended her first Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

As someone used to working with statistics, after 16 years of client work in the NHS and also as a local secondary school governor of 6 years standing, she was very surprised that the reports given to Councillors are far below the standard she would have expected.

One interesting revelation came from comparing the Council report for missed bin collections in Q4 with the report provided by SERCO. SERCO admit to missing 3050 bins in January 15/16 "due to a shortage of drivers and vehicle breakdowns". In Performance Indicator 20 from the EOSC report, the number of missed bins during Q4 is reported as 618, however, this figure is only the sum of "customer reported" bins for Q4. If the number of bins that SERCO themselves report having missed (Fig 4 Serco Report) is added in, the total is a stunning 4238 (nearly 7 times the figure given to Councillors in the EOSC report).

Helen commented: "As a small business owner myself, I know that lack of planning and contingency arrangements are no excuse at all for such poor customer service. I would be thoroughly ashamed of such an admission".

"As Councillors we need good, clear and honest information to make decisions on. Decision-making or questioning spending without clear and accurate information is almost impossible. There's evidence here that we're not getting proper information, more spin than substance, and that's simply not acceptable."