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NRAs 2015 Local Authority Innovation: Finalists

Bury Council

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Bury Council (above)

The new waste collection and recycling service was introduced as Bury Council implemented its zero waste strategy under a three to five-year plan. There is a wide-reaching communications scheme which is based on providing information and ongoing education of householders on how to recycle more efficiently and on restricting capacity for waste that cannot be recycled. Various media formats recognising the diverse society across Bury provide targeted messages. The council has successfully introduced and implemented England’s first three-weekly bin collection.

Woking Borough Council (below)

Woking Borough Council

The contract and project support team is responsible for delivering a range of environmental service contracts and projects including: household waste and recycling collections, maintenance of public conveniences, bus shelter provision and the removal of abandoned vehicles. To attract a wider audience, the ‘Everyday Heroes’ campaign was launched in January 2014 to highlight the battle against waste. The characters aimed to inspire recycling practices and show how easy it is for everyone to be an everyday hero and recycle for Woking. Each month the campaign used a variety of media to spread the messages.

Essex County Council

Essex County Council’s property and facilities management services have been outsourced to Mitie Group. The contract started in October 2011 and became fully operational in April 2012. The integrated contract is one of the largest of its kind in the UK public sector, and places Essex in a leading position as an innovator among local authorities. Creating and delivering this centralised commissioning model for all aspects of property and facilities management was an important step in the wider council transformation programme. 

Blackpool Council (below)

Blackpool Council

The council teamed up with social enterprise Helping Hand to provide a recycling service for residents who, even if they could access the council’s household waste recycling centre, found it difficult. The idea was for a vehicle to drive down streets with an ice cream van-style jingle to signal its arrival. The service would visit eight locations a day and stay for 30 minutes. It was named Rover, and residents were encouraged to ‘Fetch Rover Their Recycling’. Helping Hand offers people the option to gain work experience with its various projects and, to date, it has provided 26 volunteers to Rover.

Eastleigh Borough Council (below)

Eastleigh Borough Council

The team that developed the ‘Buy It and Try It’ garden waste initiative comprised officers from a number of business units across the authority. Groups focused on delivering a specific area of work, such as bin deliveries, providing weekly updates to the core group. Working with WRAP helped the team to develop the project in a local context and meet the needs of residents. The main service changes were providing wheeled bins instead of bags and reducing frequency of collections to fortnightly. The customer benefits included a 33% increase in capacity, prices ‘frozen’ at 2013-14 levels and a service guarantee underpinned by the ‘Buy It and Try It’ offer.

Middlesbrough Council

For a number of years, the council has operated a weekly refuse collection service alongside fortnightly recycling services. After an initial burst, its recycling tonnages had flatlined, and some participation levels were as low as 3%. A three-bin system was introduced, coupled with a series of publicity initiatives utilising a range of media. The council needed to change residents’ perception of the service and get them to be willing participants. Four behavioural insights which have been identified through academic research are: make it easy, attract attention, focus on the social and timing matters.

Ashford Borough Council (below)

A 2010 public consultation found that residents said they wanted recycling to be easier and more effective. At a time of increasing austerity budgeting, this public mandate provided clear direction for Ashford’s participation in the Mid Kent Joint Waste Partnership, which aimed to procure a better-value service deal through a single multi-client contract. In 2012 the partnership awarded a 10-year, £86m contract to municipal contractor Biffa. Ashford shelved its weekly refuse collections, replacing these with alternate week collections of commingled dry recyclables and residual waste, both in wheeled bins. The council also introduced weekly food waste collections from lockable caddies, a switch to paid-for fortnightly garden waste collections from wheeled bins, and the kerbside collection of unwanted textiles, small electrical items and batteries.

Ashford Borough Council

 

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