A REPORT has criticised Ealing waste contractor Enterprise for its performance during April’s rubbish and recyling collection meltdown.
Rubbish bags went uncollected while carefully separated materials for recycling were thrown in the back of a single vehicle after the new contractor botched the takeover of services.
Ealing Council’s cabinet gathered on Tuesday night to discuss the 32-page report, which highlighted issues with Enterprise’s methods and management.
It said that induction sessions for workers – many of whom transferred from previous contractors but were not trained to use the new vehicles – were not carried out until the first morning of collections, which had a serious impact on when crews could be deployed.
There were insufficient vehicles provided during the first week and Enterprise had an ‘unacceptable level of breakdowns’ among its temporary vehicle fleet.
Enterprise also discovered ‘certain areas of the borough caused more access difficulties than had been envisaged’.
The report said: “Given the level of initial collection problems encountered, there are some doubts that there was sufficient front-line Enterprise supervision in place to manage the operation, confirm task completion and to provide valuable front-line management information.”
The report also adds, however, that Enterprise recognised this as a problem early on and brought in more managers and supervisors to resolve the problem. The contractor has been meeting regularly with the council to improve collection rates since the debacle.
Councillor Gary Malcolm, leader for the Liberal Democrats in Ealing, said he will call in the report so it can go before the overview and scrutiny panel.
“We all know that Ealing Council and their contractor Enterprise failed in April but there are still many questions that the Labour administration have not answered,” he said.
“The Liberal Democrats will ensure that the council discusses this so they can give us the answer to these and other questions.”
Bassam Mahfouz, the council’s transport and the environment leader, said: “There’s blame at the council as well as with Enterprise. We’ve not shied away from saying that there have been issues from day one.
“But we have conducted due diligence and we have seen a marked improvement in the service over a period of time. We all accept there have been unacceptable issues with the beginning of the new contract, we have been open, honest and transparent about the whole situation.
“First and foremost we are concentrating on getting the service up to the new, tougher standards we have set and this is evident in the improvements we have seen over the past few weeks.”
Mr Mahfouz added that during the whole of April, 40 per cent of household waste was successfully recycled, in line with the borough's usual rate.