THE LEADER of Malvern Hills District Council has been taken to task on a number of issues surrounding the council’s waste collection service.
During Leader’s Question Time at the latest full council meeting Coun David Hughes was first asked to confirm whether diesel costs had increased by £6,000 a month since wheeled bins were introduced – an issue covered by the Observer last week.
In response he said 18,000 extra litres had been used since introducing the new bins in May, however he added this equated to £2,631 a month and not £6,000.
Coun Hughes said diesel consumption so far was in line with a projected extra 22,500 litres for the whole year which he declared as ‘pleasing’.
He added it was estimated the council would overspend on its annual fuel budget of £358,070 by nearly £5,000 – around 1.4 per cent.
Coun Michael Soley who raised the question said his own figures had come from a Freedom of Information submitted to the council and disputed the leader’s answer.
He said: “Where have you got your figures from? They don’t parry with mine and mine come from the same source.”
Coun Hughes said his facts had come from the head of community services.
Coun Anthony Warburton accused the leader of failing to address what action had been taken following an investigation into the time-keeping practices at the council’s waste collection depot.
He said an independent report had called for an ‘appropriate time-keeping’ system but claimed Mr Hughes had ignored this recommendation.
In response Coun Hughes said there was no reason to change his previous response to the question.
“I explained clearly what action had been taken and what further action is planned.
“This has not changed and the improved time recording arrangements that are in place satisfy the recommendation about greater transparency in authorisation prior to leaving work.”
Coun Paul Tuthill had further questions regarding the operations at the depot after two full-time posts for recycling and waste supervisors had been publicly advertised.
In response Coun Hughes said they related to a ‘minor reorganisation’ of the management within the environmental services team to meet changing business needs.
He pointed out this was the first restructure to the team since 2004 despite ‘substantial’ changes to the work undertaken.
Coun Hughes concluded there were likely to be further recruitment adverts for posts currently held by agency workers.
Finally, in response to a fourth challenge on waste services the leader assured Coun David Harrison members of the council would have the final say on any decision to pursue ‘joint procurement’ for waste collection.