More than one in five (21%) of all waste and recycling issues raised by the public are taking more than a week to resolve, according to a new survey commissioned by Yotta which polled the views of 1,000 UK adults. An unacceptable 8% of queries disappear down a black hole, never to be resolved.

“For many people, their waste or recycling collection is the only regular contact they have with the local council, yet it is the one aspect of the council’s work most likely to provoke criticism,” says Steve White, software business development manager, Yotta. “The problem is that many councils still use cumbersome and error-prone paper processes so don’t have accurate or timely records. As a result, there’s a disconnect between the waste management crews operating out in the field; management teams working in the back office and the general public looking for quick answers to their queries and complaints.”

On a more positive note, the survey does show that over half (54%) of the public’s queries are being answered within 48 hours. Yet this still means that only under a quarter (24%) are answered on the same day. The non-resolution figures are particularly high for some areas; for example 14% of issues in the North East are never properly addressed.

Overall, 35% of those polled say they have complained to a local authority about an issue relating to a waste or recycling collection, showing that, in general, dissatisfaction with council collections is high.

“Fortunately, new technology that can help councils address these issues is now coming on stream, giving them the opportunity to redeem their reputation in this important area of concern,” says White. “This supports real-time communication between waste management crews and back office teams. Crews can report service issues and the back office can keep crews updated with the latest details on premises they need to visit, bins they must collect, assisted collections or security codes for locked gates, for example.

“This will enable councils to deliver a more proactive service, respond more quickly to public complaints and, therefore, improve the public’s overall perception of the work they do.”

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