The former Carrick District Council is now part of Cornwall Council. But waste services continue to be managed on the basis that they were set up by the district authorities.
Carrick District covers an area of some 178 square miles and serves a resident population of 85 000 people, although during the holiday season the population increases significantly.
In 1990 the authority contracted out its waste management services to Cory Environmental with the clear intention during the procurement process that the relationship between client and contractor should be that of a partnership. The partnership is still going strong 20 years later, demonstrating flexibility to cope with changes in the nature and technology of waste collection (including household collections) and the move to ever more recycling.
Developing an effective partnership requires time, effort and willingness on the part of all those involved, but it can have many benefits and can lead to improved health and safety performance. It ensures a full and proper discussion between all the parties on the implications of a particular policy and ensures it is properly resourced to include health and safety.
The client still monitors the health and safety performance of the contractor, but they have ensured the benefits of the monitoring flow both ways. When there have been issues with health and safety management, such as a need to improve depot workplace transport safety, both parties worked together to resolve the problem. Prompt action on issues has been a hallmark of this partnership approach.
This partnership has also created a ‘Public Waste Management Group’, consisting of volunteer residents, who meet regularly with authority officers and Cory Environmental staff to discuss and help shape the future of waste management in the district. This provides a forum for the partnership to be able to discuss proposed changes and explain possible health and safety impacts on crews, which in turn helps to manage public expectations.
Members of the Public Waste Management Group meet new members of the Cory Environmental team
The authority has also published a supplementary planning document ‘Waste Storage and Recycling in New Developments’, which is aimed at ensuring all aspects of waste collection are considered within new developments, to both maximise recycling and to improve the efficiency and health and safety of the collection process.
Dave Owens, Head of Waste Management at Cornwall Council, said: ‘The partnership-based relationship between Cornwall Council (and its predecessor Carrick District Council) and Cory provides a really strong example of continually improving and flexible waste management practices.’