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Tewkesbury: Bulky waste

Category: Environment
Published: 21 February 2023

Tewkesbury Borough Council: Bulky waste business transformation

The project

This is an end-to-end review of the council’s bulky waste service and has provided residents with a better service, whilst reducing the cost to the council and the planet.

Prior this review, residents were faced with a waiting time of around seven weeks, and this had to be booked over the phone. By looking at every facet of the service, the council has ensured it reflects the council’s commitment to put customers first. The council has also awarded the contract for the service to a local social enterprise which recycles or reuses at least 50% of what it collects.

A new digital booking system is intuitive and easy-to-use. It provides residents with a similar experience to if they were tracking a parcel or a pizza delivery. An intuitive user system also allows for crews to communicate directly with the council’s customer services team, who can provide information to residents instantly.

The benefits

By employing low-level technological improvements, the council has transformed the service to be user-centred and cost-effective. This has resulted in a significant increase in bookings whilst ensuring income covers the cost of providing the service.

There has been a 44% increase in bookings, with plenty of spare capacity.  Working with a new contractor has significantly improved the amount which is collected, and also diverted 60% of items from going to landfill. There has been an 87% improvement in collection lead time, allowing customers to book a collection within a week rather than eight as was previously the case.

The experience of using the service now mirrors the experience of costumers using private sector online services – an intuitive digital offering. The system includes providing residents with automated updates, letting them know when the delivery is scheduled for, when the crew are out to collect, and when this has been completed.

The automation of the online service has also significantly reduced the number of manual bookings processed by the council’s customer services team. This frees up key capacity for officers to work with vulnerable residents and those with complex needs.

The social enterprise now responsible for the contract, Orchard Recycling, provides support to local charities and organizations by providing items free of charge to those in need. In areas where there is not an existing community furniture project, they will provide one making furniture or associated household items either free or available at very low cost. This is therefore providing both carbon savings and a real social benefit to residents experiencing hardship.

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