Trafford Council will now change the way it investigates missed bin collections after the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman upheld a number of complaints about the authority.
Problems raised with the Ombudsman include assisted bin collections for elderly or disabled people not being put back in the right place. For one disabled man, this meant the bins blocked him from getting out of his house.
In another case, over an extended period, residents of one block of flats regularly had to collect their communal bin from a car park, some 100 yards away.
The Ombudsman upheld six people’s complaints about their bin collections between April and December 2019 and has now issued a public report because of the volume of complaints it was receiving.
Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said:
“Although Trafford Council has responded appropriately to these people’s reports, this has not stopped their problems from happening again. The council’s complaints process has not allowed it to learn from its monitoring of the service, before escalating the complaints to me.
“I’m pleased the council has agreed to the changes to its complaints process I have recommended and hope this will now allow it to recognise where improvements need to be made to the service it provides.
“Anyone who is experiencing problems with the refuse collection service should first have completed the council’s complaints process before we can register a complaint. Any complaints that then come to us will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.”
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s role is to remedy injustice and share learning from investigations to help improve public, and adult social care, services. In this case the council has agreed to apologise to all the people who have complained and monitor their next 12 collections.
Four of the people who have complained will be given £100 to acknowledge the time and trouble they have gone to in bringing their complaints, while the people living in the block of flats will be given £150 in recognition of the injustice caused over a number of years.
The crew who collect the disabled man’s bins will be given a photograph of where the bins are to be left.
The Ombudsman has the power to make recommendations to improve processes for the wider public. In this case the council has agreed to review its missed collection report and complaints process, and will also ask its Overview and Scrutiny Committee to consider whether the recent changes to its waste collection service have brought about improvements to the service.
Article date: 20 March 2020