A team of inspectors found Knowsley MBC's waste management service to be of a good, two star standard with promising prospects for improvement. Most notably the council is keeping control of fly-tipping and the amount of waste produced in the borough is low.
'Real and measurable improvements have been delivered for residents. The bulky waste collection is now reliable, fly- tipping response time has been halved, and refuse collection rounds have been re-organised to make them more convenient for local people.'However, there is still work to be done. Overall satisfaction with cleanliness has not yet improved, and the council is yet to make an impact on litter in some parts of the borough.'
Inspectors found the following strengths:
The waste production rate in the borough is low and the council encourages waste reduction initiatives such as using real nappies and home composters.
There are recycling facilities across most of the borough and the council is supporting recycling activity in the most deprived areas.
Customer satisfaction with waste collection and recycling services is good. There is a range of education and clean-up activities and customer satisfaction with these is high.
The current recycling rate is comparatively low and there are no targets for waste minimisation.
Not enough local people are being given the opportunity to have their say about how things should be done, and not enough is being done to involve hard to reach groups.
The service is not 'user-friendly' - it has no system in place to ensure customers can access it easily.
To help the service improve, inspectors made a number of recommendations including:
Work more closely with local people, particularly hard to reach groups, to ensure everyone has the opportunity to have their say about how things should be done. Listen and respond to local needs.
Develop a system to ensure the council's waste education programmes and activities are working effectively. Strengthen the council's enforcement activity to support the education programmes.
Make sure local people can easily access the service.
The waste management service, which has a budget of£8 million for 2003/04, includes refuse collection, street cleaning, grounds maintenance and recycling. In-house staff provide the frontline service, while education, awareness and community activity is co-ordinated through the council's leisure department.