Carmarthenshire County Council in South Wales was looking to improve the efficiency of its in-house street cleansing services to contribute towards a significant budget saving in 2019.
Our street cleansing review covered mechanical sweeping, manual cleansing, collection of fly-tipped materials and the provision and emptying of litter bins. Our team identified options for delivering the service that would save 11-17% of the council’s budget.
Carmarthenshire is the third largest council by area in Wales at almost 2,400km2 with a population of around 186,000. Their existing street-cleansing operation employed over 40 full-time staff as well as a large fleet of vehicles and equipment across three depots.
Our project team were chosen for their extensive local government experience: and after an initial secondment period, our consultants undertook a data review, carried out a zoning development assessment, and ran an options appraisal.
The initial data review saw our team carry out an appraisal of the existing policies and practices, interview a wide range of officers from across Carmarthenshire’s operation, and collate data on finance, transport utilisation, waste generated and performance management. Our team analysed this data to produce a meaningful and robust baseline on which to start the review, recognising a number of good practice examples, in particular in enforcement and raising awareness, as well as highlighting gaps and potential issues.
One of the key tasks carried out by our waste operations consultants was an assessment of the areas within Carmarthenshire where the operation was having difficulty carrying out its role. Challenges included persistent parked cars in densely populated suburban areas, extensive rural road networks with isolated villages, high public expectations and bustling town centres with pedestrian zones restricting vehicular movement.
In order to ensure that the review was as useful as possible to the council, our team carried out a workshop with supervisors and front-line staff to collate their local knowledge on key pressure points, and to map the county’s highway network using the Code of Practice on Litter & Refuse (COPLAR). This provided the up-to-date template upon which to build their new service.
The final stage of the project saw our team develop different options for the council to consider when planning their new service. Our consultants modelled varying resource levels to ensure that COPLAR obligations were met, and the most suitable fleet and equipment for the scope of Carmarthenshire’s operation was proposed. Our team also developed heat maps to help ensure cost effectiveness in service delivery.
The results of our street cleansing review have highlighted the need for fewer mechanical sweepers and caged vehicles, as well as identifying a requirement for more operatives working on-the-ground delivering the service. Our team also identified that savings could be made by a change in focus including a reduction in vehicles and an increase in staffing, targeting resources to prevent cleaning of clean streets, provide a consistent approach to delivery and supervision, and by making a provision for investing in training of staff to improve the quality of the service.
A representative from Carmarthenshire County Council said:
“Eunomia’s technical insight into the challenges facing our street cleansing team allowed them to provide us with valuable advice on how we could make our service more efficient and improve the standard of delivery. The Eunomia team visited our depot and got involved with our service on the ground, and took the time to talk to our staff and understand the challenges they face in their day-to-day tasks. The entire team were flexible and easy to work with, and delivered results that were carefully thought-out and tailored to our needs – we are currently implementing their recommendations as a result.”
Photo courtesy of Jon Candy via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.