Derby City Council

Council’s £100k Xmas Bin collection saving vastly overstated – by £90k!

6x4a6172aOver the last few years, the Council has claimed that it saves £100,000 pa by cancelling bin collections over the Xmas period. You might wonder, how a saving of this magnitude could have been made over such a short period. The first clue comes from a response from Cllr Afzal, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, he stated:

” The calculations were based on the whole of the Christmas and New Year holiday and not just non-collection on the days in between bank holidays.”

This is significant as, he clarifies:

“Staff received generous overtime enhancements and additional allowances  for working over bank holidays.  For example staff that worked on bank holidays received double time and a day off in lieu.  These enhancements when multiplied up across a large workforce result in a significant cost.”

FOI 9537 confirmed that the expectation was that, had the collection gone ahead, then it would only have been in the days between the Bank Holidays. Given this  no premium time was planned , and no additional staff costs potentially incurred.

Detailed Calculations

The £100k was broken down between- £22.5k for staff costs, and £77.5k for vehicles.

Using staff and vehicle costs provided by the Council in support of the savings for Brown Bin collection, this split can be checked.

1 crew per vehicle costs £62k pa, this equates to £238 per day. For 3 Bank Holidays where double time would be attracted and 32 vehicles (FOI) in operation this equals ~£23k  ( close to the declared £22.5k). As there was no intention to work these days, then, in fact, there was no saving.

For the vehicles. The calculated cost per annum, per vehicle, was £30k ( the vast majority of this  is fuel, maintenance, and tyres – there are some fixed costs e.g. insurance, tax, GPRS tracker). This equates to £116 per day – for 8 days, and 32 vehicles = ~£30k. Not close to the declared £77.5k.  The only assumption is that the balance is “financing costs”, referred to in the FOI, but not deemed pertinent in the Brown bin scheme calculation. This is a fixed cost and would not be relevant to this decision.

As the expectation was only to work a maximum of 3 days in between the Bank Holidays, then the cost would have been ~£11k.

Conclusion

The Council’s calculation of a saving was from a base that was never planned for, and was not an expectation of the public. The maximum saving could only have been £11k. This would have been further reduced as, due to the build up of refuse over Xmas, the vehicles would have had to have been emptied more often, and therefore would have used more fuel.

I suspect that there might have been even more of a public outcry if the figure actually saved was known to have been so small.

It is unclear why the Council continue to try and fool the public on this issue….unless of course they actually do think that they’ll save £100k – which is even more worrying!

Postscript

At a technical level, this £100k is part of the overall £135m “cuts” that the Council keep referring to ( this is not the only example where the so-called “cuts” are not actual “cuts” in practice) . This only seems  to arise because the planned costs are unnecessarily over-inflated. Cllt Afzal used the standard rhetoric in his comment to the Derby Telegraph:

“We don’t want to be in this position, but the austerity cuts coming from Government mean we have to and it means the binmen get to spend Christmas with their families. It is only one collection [per household] and I’m sure people will manage.”

What he’s saying is that due to “Tory Cuts” the tax payer can’t have bin collections on the 3 Bank Holidays which actually the Council never planned for, nor the public expected them to do. This decision to cancel collections in between the holidays, has nothing to do with “Tory Cuts”. This is deceptive – he’s either lying or is incompetent – which is it?

Cllr Afzal could save the same amount of money (£11k) if they missed one weeks delivery in the midst of the summer period, or is the objective to ingratiate themselves to Refuse Collectors over the Festive Season (ref DT quote) – this Labour Council has form in bending over backwards for this group of staff.

Categories: Derby City Council

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