The refuse collection and street cleansing services provided by the Borough of Poole are fair with promising prospects for improvement, according to an independent report released today by the Audit Commission.
An inspection team gave the service one star.
The council recognises that the reliability of these services has been variable in recent years. Old, unsuitable and unreliable vehicles have contributed to this.
'A priority for the Borough of Poole is its vehicle and equipment problem which is having a negative impact on the reliability of the authority's refuse collection and street cleaning service. This needs to be made a priority for change and we welcome the council's current attempts to address this..'
The inspection report highlights a number of key strengths:
- Public satisfaction with the services are good, despite the recent problems which the service has experienced with vehicle unreliability
- Customer complaints about the service are responded to speedily and effectively
- The inspection team witnessed prompt and efficient collections of rubbish and recyclable items. They also judged that the streets of Poole were presentable and generally clean
However, inspectors also found weaknesses:
- The current reliability of the service, as a result of vehicle and equipment problems, is still variable and this impacts upon the service that is delivered to customers. For example, it has reduced public confidence in the kerbside collections of recyclable materials and so less people are using the service now.
- The service does not have clear stated aims and the council has not developed any local performance indicators to set challenging targets for improving service delivery to customers
To help the service improve, inspectors made a number of recommendations, including:
- Improve the cleanliness of the borough by sorting out contract arrangements for verges as well as working with partners to improve the bus station
- Provide better information to customers
- Develop a service plan with clear aims set demanding local targets that focus improvement on council priorities and areas of weakness
Approximately 80 staff are employed in the service. The net annual budget is£2.32m(2001/02) which is equivalent to 2.1 per cent of the council's net revenue budget.