25 June 2011

Are Contracts monitored ? May Gurney suggests not

Can Barnet Council monitor a simple contract ?

This is an important question in the light of the very complex contracts that are proposed under OneBarnet.

I would say that the contract which exists with May Gurney to collect the recycling in the blue & black boxes is a simple one. The contract also includes running the Summers Lane facility and collecting the recycling banks around the borough.

( as an aside, some idiot decided that the blue boxes don't need lids even though they contain cardboard and after a week's rain or snow, quite possible in England, they contain a heavy & soggy mess. They also chose a box where the drain holes are not at the lowest point in the box so that rainwater collects in the bottom, you pick up your box and then get soaked as a stream of water runs out. Priceless. ) 

Now Mr Mustard recently read the contract with May Gurney. It contains a whole section about when monies will be deducted from their payment for service failures. Mr Mustard has had cause to complain about the lack of service on many occasions. 
The operatives used to walk straight past his box if if was a millimetre too far from the gate for them but he stopped that nonsense by persistent complaining.
Mr Mustard also had a quiet word with one of the operatives to not keep putting the empty box back in the flower bed.
Needless to say his boxes have often been sent on little holidays down the street despite being numbered.
The way in which boxes are returned is dangerous. The postman is unamused on bin collection day as his round is full of trip hazards.

Here are Mr Mustard's bins before collection ( neat and conveniently placed as always ) 

and afterwards on 3 different occasions just to show this is the normal state of affairs.

So a pretty sloppy approach to customer care.

Now these are the reasons why monies can be deducted from May Gurney :-
4.1 The Authority shall be entitled to deduct from each monthly payment of the Annual Service Payment a sum equal to the total Fixed Charges incurred during the previous month in accordance with this paragraph 4.
4.2 A Fixed Charge may be levied against the Contractor on the occurrence of any of the following Fixed Charge Events:

4.2.1 failure by any member of the Contractor's staff to wear the appropriate uniform and/or appropriate personal protective equipment whilst performing the Services under this Contract;

4.2.2 failure by the Contractor to open the Facility at 08.00 hours;

4.2,3 failure by the Contractor to close the Facility to the public later than 16.00 hours;

4.2.4 all material containers of any one type at the Facility are full and therefore unavailable for users of the Facility to use;
4.2.5 failure by the Contractor to empty a Bring Bank that has been reported to it as full within 24 hours of such notification;
4.2.6 failure by the Contractor to resolve a complaint regarding service delivery time or equipment, within two weeks of the complaint being made;
4.2.7 failure by the Contractor to deliver a box or other agreed container within five (5) Business Days;
4.2.8 failure by the Contractor to deliver a box or other agreed container within seven (7) Business Days;

4.2.9 failure by the Contractor to clear a spillage or breakage within one hour of notification;

4.2.10 failure by the Contractor to clear a spillage or breakage within twenty-four (24) hours of notification;

4.2.11 failure by the Contractor to leave a contamination card in the box or other agreed container;

4.2.12 failure by the Contractor to collect Recyclable Waste and the Re-usable Waste within twenty-four (24) hours of receipt of a report of non-collection;
4.2.13 failure by the Contractor to collect Recyclable Waste and Re-usable within forty-eight (48) hours of receipt of a report of non-collection;
4.2.14 where the Contractor has placed bagged materials on the surface of a carriageway, footway or footpath for subsequent collection;

4.2.15 failure by the Contractor to comply with paragraph 5.9.1 of the Specification, which results in boxes being dragged along with carriageway, footway or footpath;

4.2.16 where there have been two (2) Missed Collections from the same address in any consecutive period of eight (8) weeks;

4.2.17 failure by the Contractor to comply with clause 8 (Health & Safety);

4.2.18 where there have been forty (40) or more Missed Collections per 100,000 households per month, provided that, in each instance, the notification procedure set out in paragraph 4.3 has been applied.

So take a guess about how many deductions were made from payments to May Gurney in the year ended 31 March 2011. That is right - none at all.

So either May Gurney are perfect, and my photographs would suggest that is not the case, or Barnet Council haven't bothered to monitor the service and reclaim monies on our behalf. If you know any of the Fixed Charge Events have taken place please post a comment below and also write to Barnet Council and ask them why they did not make a financial deduction ( it's our money they are failing to safeguard ).

You might like to know the following about Assisted Collections which is in the contract:-

5.4.1 A number of residents, typically some elderly and disabled residents, are unable to leave their black boxes and other agreed collection containers at the edge of their property. In these cases the Contractor shall make individual arrangements with the resident, known as assisted collections, and maintain these assisted collections for as long as is necessary. The Contractor shall provide these arrangements at no additional cost to the Authority. 

If you need this service then telephone the Council on 020 8359 4600 or email them at first.contact@barnet.gov.uk

Mr Mustard found this interesting. If you put out extra materials in plastic carrier bags then May Gurney should also take the bags and recycle them. They don't. They leave them in your box. Tut tut. 

5.10.3 The Contractor shall collect and dispose of/or recycle all plastic carrier bags used to contain additional recyclable materials. The Contractor shall not leave any carrier bags at the property or on/in the surface of a carriageway, footway or footpath in Barnet following collection.

Oh dear, this section of the Contract certainly isn't being adhered to. Given the propensity of victims of falls to sue for damages these days it would be of great economic benefit if May Gurney were to adhere to this requirement.

5.16.4 Notwithstanding where the residents leave their recycling boxes for collection, the Contractor shall ensure that these recycling boxes are placed within the property boundary, and not on the public footway, carriageway or footpath, on garden walls or in gardens. In complying with this section, the Contractor shall ensure that recycling boxes are not placed where it could impede pedestrian or vehicular access to properties.

If your operative isn't doing this why not politely ask him to or email the Council to complain. You can of course expect that the operative will be polite.

5.17.1 The Contractor shall ensure that all its Staff:

a) Receive induction training, to ensure a thorough understand of the standards of the Kerbside Recycling Collection Services, as well as an appreciation of other issues affecting the Authority.

b) Conduct the Kerbside Recycling Collection Services in as quiet, polite and efficient manner as is possible.

Mr Mustard will be returning to the subject of May Gurney, and their payments, in a later blog.
Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. 7 minutes after posting this blog the London Borough of Barnet are the first to be reading it. If only they were that attentive to the real needs of residents !

  2. what a fuss pot you are: bet there's hell to pay in your house if someone leaves the top off the toothpaste

  3. I know Mrs A, fancy making a fuss about public servants not doing their job properly, you wouldn't do that would you ? what's that MetPro you say ? The thin end of the wedge is it not.

    Its not as if we have new lampposts in our street so that we can see properly either.


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