Local authorities have faced unprecedented challenges in continuing to deliver services to their communities during the COVID-19 crisis. Waste and recycling collection is one frontline service where resilience has been tested more than most. Councils have understandably been prioritising waste collection services during the lockdown.

Whether it is the pressure of increased volumes of household waste, due to the need for residents to stay at home, or the impact that lockdown has had on chargeable services like bulky or garden waste collections, and on commercial collections generally, working out how these can be re-configured to continue efficiently and safely has been a major challenge.

Other environmental services have also been impacted, with the impact of lockdown seeing changing priorities for street cleansing services and a shift in immediate focus from cyclical activity that was usually driven e.g. by high footfall towards more reactive activity such as emptying dog bins and dealing with fly tipping.

With traffic levels a small fraction of what they are in more normal times, some councils have taken advantage of the quieter roads to fill in potholes and undertake general maintenance. Activities such as disinfection, including of handrails, bins and even vehicle interiors have had a much higher priority in lockdown and will continue to do so as we come out of it in due course. Councils are likely to also prioritise understanding the location and condition of a wider range of assets across the public realm to ensure they are in the right place and the right condition.

In an era when the safety of our staff and the general public will have greater focus, mobile and remote working have become a necessity for many. The need for mobile apps, in-cab technology and robust hardware to give access to real-time service and asset information is already critical and will become more so over time. The workplace has already changed for so many, and the changes that have had to be adopted so rapidly will surely have an enduring impact on how frontline services are delivered by local authorities.

Our upcoming webinar to be held on 3rd June at 2.00 p.m in conjunction with one of our key partners, Panasonic, will demonstrate how our cloud-based asset management platform, Alloy, connects and integrates service delivery across asset rich departments such as waste collection, street cleansing, highways maintenance and green spaces. By connecting data, people, systems and process Alloy enables local authorities to adapt and respond faster and in a more coherent manner to the changing demands of service delivery now and as we transition out of lockdown.

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