Peterborough City Council’s new boss defends handling of bin changes
Matt Gladstone, who started work as the council’s chief executive just a week ago, was speaking after some residents voiced bewilderment at the way they were informed about changes to household refuse collections.
Aragon Direct Services, the council’s waste contractor, used a combination of stickers placed on bins and leaflets put through letterboxes to tell residents about the changes that are needed because of the growth in housing across the city.
But thousands of residents had stickers placed on bins telling them collections would not be changed on their street, which left many thinking the stickers had been printed incorrectly.
Some residents said it appeared the council was wasting money. The cost of the communications has been put at £30,000.
But Mr Gladstone, who has replaced former chief executive Gillian Beasley after her retirement, said officers were doing the right thing and it was far better to communicate with residents than to say nothing.
Mr Gladstone, who was previously executive director of place at Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, said: “I have spoken to the Aragon chief about this and there are a number of reasons why those stickers went out.
“I know while the collection days might not have changed, the timings of some of those rounds have changed.
“And having overseen the organisation of waste bin crews in previous roles, I know they are complex, logistical issues that need sorting and I’m aware they do need to change as the city is growing.
“You have to keep adapting and evolving those bin rounds and on occasion they do have to put out communications.
“If they don’t put communications out they get absolutely flooded with loads of calls from the public, so I think it has been the right thing to do.
“They have put the messages out and while some colection days have not changed a number of collection timings might be different - and I think it is still important to reinforce that message,
“So in the scheme of things, I think the right thing has been done and we are genuinely trying to do the right thing and improve that engagement with the community.”