Long queues at waste recycling centres and missed bin rounds among hundreds of complaints made to Wakefield Council

Long queues at the tip and missed bin collections are among hundreds of complaints that were sent to Wakefield Council over a 12 month period.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 9:50 am
Updated Friday, 14th January 2022, 9:52 am

The local authority received 1,067 complaints between April 2020 and March 2021, a fall of more than 450 from the year before.

A council report on the issue said using the numbers as an accurate measure of performance was impossible, as lockdowns "reduced the need" for people to complain.

However, Covid contributed to some areas of concern for local residents, with gigantic queues having formed as waste centres when the first lockdown was coming to an end in May 2020.

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Long queues were seen outside waste tips in Glasshoughton, Wakefield and South Kirkby towards the end of the first lockdown in May 2020.

A total of 23 complaints were made about Renewi, the firm which runs those sites on behalf of the council. 14 of those were upheld or partially upheld.

They related to queuing, staff conduct and cars in the queue being "turned away", according to the report.

However, the council did strongly condemn those who verbally abused Renewi employees during the chaos at the time.

Potholes were again a familiar bugbear for residents, with 54 complaints submitted about those across the year.

The council said Covid hit binmen particularly hard during the early parts of the pandemic, causing problems with bin collections.

But by far the most common cause for complaint was waste services with 317 separate grievances lodged.

Missed bins, staff conduct, and bins not being returned to the right home were among the complaints.

The report said binmen had been "particularly hard hit by Covid" during the early stages of the pandemic, which it said offered mitigating circumstances for many of the problems.

It added: "As a result, there was a need to bring in temporary teams to cover the absences.

"These teams were not always fully briefed with regard to the location of assisted lifts on the collection rounds they were covering, therefore missing these collections from the rounds.

"They were at times also not briefed on the need to place the bin back in the correct position for these collections too."

The report said the situation with staff shortages had not been "communicated proactively" to the public.

It added: "Reasons were given in the context of a complaint response, but this could have been made “public” at an earlier point which could have mitigated a number of the complaints coming through."

A further 232 complaints made related to either the care of vulnerable children or social care for adults.

Local Democracy Reporting Service