It’s all about those pesky missed bins!

Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

Missed bin collections have been hitting the headlines recently with 1.8 million complaints about missed bins reported in 2018 and just how much it costs for local authorities to deal with. But what are we actually doing about it? Well, you’ll be pleased to know we have a project dedicated to just that!

Along with North East Lincolnshire Council, we were lucky enough to be awarded MHCLG funding to develop a prototype waste dashboard which will help councils identify failure and plan for improvements. This sounds like a great idea, and relatively simple right?

The reality of collating data from multiple sources with the aim of making the dashboard work for all councils is extremely challenging. In Leeds alone, we collect 1,933,000 bins per month accounting for 355,173 households which in itself is a vast amount of data. In addition, there is also a vast difference between the systems we use to collect data. At Leeds and NELC despite us facing the same challenges in terms of missed bin collections, the way we collect data and handle the information is completely different. We use different software with different rights and categorisation and we have different ways of working.

As Leeds City Council is such a huge organisation with nearly 15,000 employees, it’s difficult to know who is working on what at all times. Getting the right people in the room has been a challenge, but we have succeeded and have an established project team dedicated to reducing missed bins.

So what have we done so far?

We have analysed our current position by evaluating customer feedback to identify common issues. We have shadowed customer services and waste services to understand the processes for reporting a missed bin and then collated relevant data from the contact centre. To help put this research into context, we developed a number of personas to exemplify the most common problems both staff and customers are facing. We shared these with NELC and acknowledged common trends.

From this sharing of information, we have come up with our vision statement for the project and created objectives to be fulfilled by the end of the ‘alpha’ stage (more about this in the next post!) NELC have created a prototype dashboard and so we need to see if it would work for our data and whether it could integrate with our systems, or whether a different platform would work better.

At this stage it’s a lot of trial and error and testing, testing, testing! Sound interesting? Why not follow us and stay up to date with all the latest developments.