Forward the Light Brigade
The much-hyped management restructure at Cheshire East Council is behind schedule – no surprises there. But now the local Labour group are asking what the implications are for other projects that were supposed to be dependent upon the implementation of the new management structure.
Although the management of waste facilities in the north of the borough, intended to be based around Lyme Green, has been a farce of disastrous proportions, the facilities in the south of the borough, based around Pyms Lane in Crewe have been a great success. The waste transfer station at Pyms Lane has operated efficiently, helping Cheshire East to improve its recycling rate and providing an excellent service to local residents. Now in their ideological rush to restructure, the Conservatives are planning to transfer waste services, including the operations at Pyms Lane, to a separate wholly owned company. However, the report prepared in February said, “The new operating model will not work properly, however, if we fail to put in place quickly the new management structures and ways of working (both internally and externally) needed to support it.”
Given that the new management structure has been delayed, why are the Tories pressing ahead with plans to change waste services? Doesn’t this put at risk the excellent service provided in the south of the borough by the Pyms Lane site?
Ken Edwards, Labour Councillor for Macclesfield Central, said, “The distressing situation is that with the Council moving to being a commissioning council savings (so called) are being made at the expense of the pay and conditions of the council workforce. The creation of the wholly owned company is a legal way of reducing the quality of life of the refuse collection team in terms of their contractual hours in the name of flexibility.”
Roy Cartlidge, Labour Councillor for Crewe St Barnabas, said, “Our local staff in waste services have done a great job. Is this any way to reward them? Swindon Council tried transferring their waste services to an arms length company in 2010 and now they are bringing the services back in-house. Shouldn’t we be learning from Swindon’s mistakes and keeping good services in-house?”
Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East, said, “I am regularly complimented by people over the silver wheelie bin service provided by Cheshire East Council. This service has helped improve our recycling rate to over 50% and saved the council millions of pounds in landfill costs. We should be building on that success, not pressing ahead with ideological changes that seem set up to fail.”