Councils compensating for bin collection failures hits record high

1st Sep 2017

Over the past year, a record 400-plus bin-related disputes have been upheld, up from 287 the previous year, according to figures from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

The organisation upheld 81 per cent of the 498 complaints received last year, a significantly higher proportion than the 255 out of 447 (55 per cent) from 2014/15.

In that period, nine people received financial compensation due to bin failings (cases where a lack of bin collection is long and sustained, or involves inadequate customer service or someone with a disability). However, 21 people over the past year have received an average financial payout of £140 for the same failings. Those worst affected have received up to £350.

This comes at a time when councils’ spending has fallen by more than £3 billion during the past half-decade.

Michael King, communities secretary at the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, says: “Councils can contract out their waste services, but they cannot wash their hands of it. They are responsible and accountable for delivering those services, and for putting things right when they go wrong. Outsourced should not mean out of touch.

“Whether the service is outsourced or not, we shouldn’t be upholding 81 per cent of the complaints we investigate – this is too much, particularly for a service that should be relatively simple to get right.”

In the latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI), The Institute of Customer Service found that the CSI for local public services, 74.4, was up 0.6 year-on-year – its highest score since July 2012. However, this is 3.4 points lower than the all-sector average.

However, the CSI does rise to 78.7, 0.7 above the all-sector UK average, for those who use such an organisation once a week (as opposed to those who use it less frequently).

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