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Cambridge City Council slams claims it has 'lost control' of bin collections

The city council has slammed claims it has “lost control” of bin collections as the number of complaints continues to rise in Cambridge.

Cambridge City Council slams claims it has 'lost control' of bin collections (6787324)
Cambridge City Council slams claims it has 'lost control' of bin collections (6787324)

A new report says Cambridge City Council has received more than double the amount of complaints compared to the previous year.

It said the authority has received 1,077 complaints since April 2018.

According to the report, which is due to go before the council’s civic affairs committee next week, the highest service area for complaint continues to be Waste Services where the number is continuing to increase.

But the council says a new system for reporting issues is to blame and that they are, in fact, providing an “excellent” service.

The report says that in 2016-17, the council received 567 complaints. This went up to 698 in 2017-18, and up again to 1.077 in 2018-19. Of these, 105 complaints were to do with waste collection in 2016-17. This more than doubled to 254 in 2017-18, and rose again to 405 in 2018-19.

Despite this, it notes the service has increased the number of successful bin collections to over 99.8 per cent. According to the report – the service now has fewer than 1,000 collections per month that are not collected on schedule.

Lib Dem Cllr Zoe O’Connell said the council has “lost control” of the situation, and called for plans for improvement.

Cllr O’Connell said: “Another huge rise in complaints this year is sadly what people are learning to expect from a Labour council that has lost control of the situation.

“Labour are panicking and have nothing to say to residents wondering why their bins haven’t been collected and why other services are failing. The people of Cambridge deserve better. Cambridge Liberal Democrats are calling on the leader of the council to explain what he plans to do to get this problem under control, and urgently.”

Rosy Moore, executive councillor for environmental services and the city centre, defended the council’s services, saying a new way of recording complaints is likely to be behind the increasing numbers

She said a new “too simplistic” system had been brought in which gave people the option to either log a compliment or a complaint. She said this meant many issues which would never previously have been logged as a complaint were being included.

“We don’t believe the actual number of complaints has gone up,” said Cllr Moore. “The main aim is to provide a good service to residents. Our crews provide a really valuable service. It is hard work, and they do a fantastic job.”

Cllr Moore said the new system for logging complaints would need to be “tweaked”.

Cllr Lewis Herbert, leader of Cambridge City Council, said there are “occasional issues” which the council did its best to address. He said that the changeover period from a city-wide waste collection service to the new shared one with South Cambridgeshire District Council had thrown up problems, but that these had been largely sorted out.

He said staff feel “disgruntled” by claims the council has “lost control”, and said the council is, running an “excellent” service.

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