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Interim Report from CityClean

Added: 1 July 2004

The report being presented today to the Environment Committee can be viewed on the link below.

Click here to view the report

Naturally, it has not proved the glowing success that Councillor Mitchell hoped it would, or tries to present it as. How do we know this? Well the report itself is so ridiculous that it merits some serious investigation and questioning.

SECTION 1. ENCAMS data.

We can all "think" the streets are much, much cleaner, but something more concrete is needed. Step in the ENCAMS scoring system. This is a national system for measuring the cleanliness of streets. Gillian Marston from CityClean told me that this was the system they would be using and that "they had ENCAMS data going back 3 years".

OK then ... let's look at the data presented in the report. Only 6 sample dates are presented (out of approximately 120 days). Are the streets compared with their old data? No, with an "equivalent" area on the same day. The communal bin area scores an average of 64 out of 100 - the non-communal bin average is 54. OK, so the bin area is cleaner - no one ever disputed that - but by only 10 points?! All the hassle of the bins, the fly-tipping, the ugliness of them, loss of parking and the smell and you only get 10 extra points of benefit? The sample dates are completely random, indicating they most likely 'cherry-picked' the best 6 dates. Hand picked, and still on 10 points ahead of the non-communal container areas! Also remember that nearby non-communal bin streets have not been swept, clearly an attempt to make the trial area look good.

SECTION 2. Data from the enforcement officers.

Clearly we can see that fly-tipping has occurred, but even more has been covered up. Residents have seen the small metal-caged vans filled with, from union information, agency staff, going around getting rid of fly-tipping. Was all this presented to the enforcement officers, or conveniently forgotten about?

Furthermore, why, based on these figures, is Section A so low compared with Section B ... might it be that people in Section A streets have storage already?

SECTION 3. Health & Safety Issues.

Whether or not the 58 days lost in 12 months due to "basement accidents" is true or not we cannot be certain, but in the grand scheme of things, with a large workforce, it is not a bad average. It is probably comparable to most manual industries. One could hardly claim that the CityClean managers are all that concerned about their workforce, nearly managing to cause a strike through their bullying tactics.

SECTION 4. Running Costs.

One of the biggest fabrications in this whole report. It states that a normal crew costs £136,856, and the driver only communal bin solution costs a mere £83,206. That's a big saving! Unfortunately the report states "Driver only", meaning they have clearly deliberately not included all the costs of street sweepers and emergency 'skimming' crews going around all the time, witnessed by numerous residents and a matter of sworn testimony delivered to the Council Scrutiny Panel. Most of these workers are agency staff - this helps to muddy the water about the true costs, which are obviously (as they are trying to conceal them) higher. If they roll them out, can they sustain this level? Of course not.

SECTION 5. Residents comments and requests.

These hold very little weight. The majority marked as "Phonecall to Call Centre", they are obviously completely untraceable and unverifiable. How do we know that CityClean's own unique spin was not placed on these? For example, "Maybe things would be cleaner with those communal bins in our street" becomes "I want communal bins for our street".

SECTION 7. Focus groups.

The first paragraph says it all. "The sample interviewed is not a statistically representative sample of the residents in the trial". 18 people, not even all in favour cannot justify calling for bins to be rolled out at once (see Independent Report). Besides no one has ever been against a solution for streets that have problems, it has been stated that communal bins are not a sensible or intelligent response to those issues.

INDEPENDENT CONSULTANTS REPORT.

This man may be an expert in waste management with his "30 years experience", but it does not mean he is qualified to interpret the data given to him - interestingly, lexical analysis indicates that much of this may have been written by Tim Moore of CityClean. It is fairly clear that Gillian Marston didn't have a hand in it ... sentences contain verbs, nouns, and make grammatical sense. The report is filled with misinformation as well - for example, "From a study of the background of the trial it is evident that the area under consideration had major refuse and litter problems". What study?! Tim Moore stated that this had been based on the results from a 'Regency ward edition' of the Best Value Review of Waste Management, only he could never produce it, or ANY supporting data.

If you read through the rest of it, it is practically a love letter to CityClean. It even claims that the "consultation was not a hollow exercise". Interesting, a Scrutiny Panel is currently looking into it and has yet to report, and Tim Moore himself admitted that the reason they had deliberately had no consultation with residents was due to the fact that they knew we would be opposed to the scheme (also a matter of sworn statement to the Scrutiny Panel), so how can this be concluded?

Time and again it betrays its lack of impartiality.

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