Rushcliffe Borough Council's leadership in innovation and customer service lead to Beacon Council status in 2006/7.
Dave Thomas, recycling2go coordinator at Rushcliffe Borough Council, explains how the system works:
“Rushcliffe operates an alternate week, three-bin recycling service. Collective gives our crews information about households as they drive the route, pointing out special requirements such as assisted collections or extra bins. Not only that, they can very easily record information about overloaded or contaminated bins, bins not presented and virtually anything else. This means we can direct our communications messages to the right customers to persuade them to change their recycling behaviour and attitudes. The information also helps us deal with customer queries efficiently and we can also use the management data to find out where customers are putting their bins out too late, areas where there are problems with contaminated bins or bins are too full, or whether refuse collectors have missed bins.”
“Rushcliffe has the second highest recycling/composting rate in the country and this new technology means we can use this information to find out those areas which are not recycling as frequently, so we can encourage them to adopt an even greener lifestyle.”
Information and audit trails are central to the system, allowing Council staff to immediately understand and justify their actions. The crew can record deliberate missed collections where, for example, the bin was contaminated or inaccessible or occasions where bins are lost into the compactor. As the round progresses there’s a complete picture of which bins were emptied, which not emptied and any which were missed by accident. With this information and the history of the customer’s collections and with live data on the crew’s location, management can decide on the spot whether the crew should return to collect the missed bins. All information can be shared immediately with managers and field-based inspectors as the system sends SMS messages to their hand-held computers or mobiles.
The system is very tightly integrated with the Council's Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) and all messages and events are automatically linked to a Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN). This has allowed Bartec to create a near-real-time link into the council call centre system. Now when a resident phones in with any enquiry all the relevant information is already on screen without an extensive investigation trail back to the depot and / or vehicle.
“It’s all about linking up different technologies and thereby connecting the team” says Tim Hobbs, Director of Bartec Auto ID. “By using the touch-screen, the crew can rapidly record reasons for failed collections whilst the GPRS data link means instant two-way communications are assured between head office and the RCV.”