Recycling Review

 

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Recycling Review

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1 Page 2 • Introduction • Panel Members Page 3 • Background Page 4 • Confidential & Non-confidetial Waste • Recycling from Voids Falklands Approch Page 5 Extracts from SMT Briefings Areas for inprovements Page 6 Reconmendations Action Plan Page 7-8 Concluding Remaks Page 9-10 Appendex 1

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2 Introduction Tenants and Residents Associations and Neighboured committees requested that the scrutiny panel look at the waste that is being generated from voids and there should be a commitment from Cobalt Housing on waste management. Waste management can pay. A recent survey found that business can achieve savings of at least 1% of turnover through waste management. The Panel took the tenants concerns on board and decided to link recycling to the next review on Voids. However, after consultation, the panel felt that linking both voids and recycling may be to wide-ranging and decided to put voids back to another date and concentrate on recycling not only from the voids also how Cobalt Housing recycle The tenant associations felt, as well as providing affordable furniture and other items for tenants, in re-use projects (see appendix 2) it would offer excellent value for money, in line with Cobalt Housing Value for Money Policy, (see appendix 1) for Cobalt Housing, and improve the skills base of the local community through volunteering, employment and work-based training opportunities.it should also support a drive for sustainable communities and social and financial inclusion. Panel Members taking part in this Scrutiny Larry Shelbourne (Chair). Phyllis Booth (Vice Chair). Debbie Mottram (Secretary). Rhona Parker. Janet Heckingbottom. Edith Hodge. Ronnie Thomas. Joan Johnson. Sophia Muncaster Beryl Robinson William Tynan Sandra Tynan 2

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3 Background How was this service identified? Tenants and Residents Associations and Neighboured committees requested that the scrutiny panel look at the waste that is being generated from voids and other Cobalt Housing departments. Investigate any savings Cobalt Housing may achieve by taking on board a recycling programme? The recycling review (the Scrutiny Panel’s fifth) started in December 2013 and the research phase was completed in April 2013. The approach we decided to adopt in scrutinising recycling is as follows:  Fact finding: reviewing service standards, policies, procedures and tenants’ views.  Challenge and compare: examining what other landlords do and try to identify good practice  Recommendations: analysing our findings and making recommendations to Cobalt’s Board, followed by asking Cobalt Housing to produce an action plan demonstrating how our recommendations will be addressed  Monitor and evaluate: once we have an action plan, we will monitor progress and evaluate the outcome for tenants In conducting our review, we have:  Received an initial overview from the Facilities Manager  Produced a scope for the review Our intention for this review was to -:     Talk to the service director Caretakers Adaptations manager Data collection Things to look at          Inspect voids with surveyors Recycling centre Bench marking recycling methods Evidence gathering Value for money What do Cobalt Housing do with the furniture How long does it take to clear a void How much would or does recycling save Recycling office furniture and waste 3

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4   Does Cobalt have an energy certificate Anything for tenants to recycle – should there be support for tenants to recycle Non Confidential/Confidential Waste The sorting of non-confidential/ confidential waste paper from Cobalt offices by Scrutiny Panel members on 24th March 2014 , discovered that approximately 40% of seven bags of confidential waste should have been disposed of in Cobalt`s own disposal system, saving on cost and time. After sorting through the bags with Karen Palmer, the panel discovered that only three bags were needed for confidential waste and the other 4 bags should have been disposed of in the normal way. The panel members were informed each bag cost £7.50 each to depose of. A saving of £30.00 Non-confidential waste included Envelopes, plain paper, training documents, and other non-confidential documents. Recycling from voids/ Falklands Approach. The Scrutiny panel requested a visit to Falkland’s Approach to note how goods were stored, the condition of the goods and could they be refurbished and recycled? The panel were advised that there were a number of Health and Safety issues at Falklands Approach and the health and safety officer had gave instructions that panel members should not attend Falklands Approach until the issues were eliminated. The panel were disappointed they could not visit Falklands Approach, but the panel accepted panel members due to visit the site, should not be put a risk until the Health and Safety issues are resolved. A written response was provided to the Scrutiny panel by from members of the Senior Management Team (SMT) and the Managing Director (MD) (see below). In Q2-3 last year (Jul – Dec 2013 ), goods from void properties were being stored at Falklands Approach with the intention of setting up a recycling scheme for vulnerable tenants. This was alongside the storage of goods under the Torts Act (legal requirement to keep goods from an abandoned property for a stated timescale before destruction). There was never an agreed process for how this would operate, let alone any kind of policy and was being trialled. In December last year, the Facilities Manager highlighted the Health and Safety issues caused by the storage of goods with no process in place. Alan Rogers (MD), instructed a visit take place to look at what was happening with the stored goods and Falklands Approach as a whole. There was still uncertainty about the use of the building and this was discussed by the Senior Management Team on 29th January (see below) where Alan Rogers (MD) instructed that the property be cleared on all stored goods. 4

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5 Extract from SMT briefing - 29th Jan 2013 Falklands Approach – Ann Louise Gilmore Director of Property Service was absent from SMT but had forwarded an email following a visit to Falklands Approach. “A decision needs to be made on what the future use of the building is to be (Cobalt Plus/recycling scheme/storage/office facility). There are certain costs to make the necessary changes that will be required for each. If the building is to be used solely by Cobalt Plus, an agreed key holder needs assigning and assessments carrying out to make sure we meet all Health & Safety legislation for using the building as a place of work. Agreement needs making urgently on what we do with the stored goods/TORTS items”. Alan Rogers (MD) instructed that the building must be cleared As soon as possible of all TORTS/tenants goods and moved to garages. Michelle Wood Director of Neighbourhood Services will look at what work is required to the garages to make them secure/water tight. This is in relation to Torts goods and not recycling. On Wed 12th March, Ann Louise Gilmore submitted draft plans/drawings to be considered for the future use of Falklands Approach (training for tenants in basic DIY etc). Following this, it was raised that the Scrutiny Panel were still interested in a review of recycling (of which stored goods at Falklands fell into the scope). SMT members (Ann Louise Gilmore Director of Property Service and Michelle Wood Director of Neighbourhood Services) confirmed that Cobalt Housing are NOT recycling any goods however we are still storing goods under the Torts Act which is a legal requirement. The tort goods will soon be moved to a garage site. Michelle Wood Director of Neighbourhood Services is considering revisiting recycling again in the future, however this is not to implement a process - it is to identify whether it is a viable service, taking into account the risks to the business and Health and Safety implications. As part of the considerations, Michelle Wood Director of Neighbourhood Services stated she may also contact a few charities to see if we can work with them but again, the implications of risk and Health and Safety are potentially high and there may be no interest from them in moving this forward. For clarity, Cobalt is not running any recycling scheme and may consider this in the future. Areas for improvement All Cobalt Housing Staff need to be more aware of the savings (not only in monetary terms but also to the environment) that can be achieved by reducing waste, reusing equipment that may seem obsolete and recycle goods i.e. Mobile phones etc. 5

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6 Recommendations    Implement a recycling Policy Delegate a member of staff to oversee a recycling programme Cobalt housing adopt a ‘zero waste economy’. This doesn’t mean that no waste exists -. It means cobalt Housing should reduce, reuse and recycle all they can, and throw things away only as a last resort Look for money back from left belongings after the TORT has expired, for example: weighing in the clothes? Using eBay. Using recycling sites for example freecycle.org.uk so you don’t have to pay to dispose of items. A come and grab day where tenants can come and see if there is anything they can reuse and take free of charge or a small donation to the local food bank. Use of apprentices’ scheme to reupholster/ upgrade furniture that is left in voids or through TORTS Develop a recycling policy for both recycling in general and for confidential waste. Recycling of IT equipment. Computers, Mobile phones and other used electronics are jamming up landfills, explore ways to recycle Cobalt Housing old devices, keeping computers, Mobile phones and other used electronics out of landfills. Sorting of non-confidential/ confidential waste paper from Cobalt offices. Staff should be made aware of the difference, and that an audit on these bags take place every quarter by tenant auditors. Explore any savings gained with introduction of an energy performance certificate TORT goods be sorted for recycling. Not deposed of to landfill Explore a storage charge for tenants who leave goods behind when they leave           Action plan As agreed with the Board, we require Cobalt Housing to produce a SMART action plan, setting out how and when they will implement our recommendations. We will 6

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7 monitor progress against this action plan and monitor outcomes for tenants through the feedback we receive from customers. We will require Cobalt to produce an action plan by the time of our monthly meeting in July 2014, so that we can commence monitoring. We would expect all our recommendations to be thoroughly considered by Cobalt Housing officers and completed within six months after the board’s approval. If for any reason is not practical for all our recommendations to be completed within six months, we will require a full explanation in writing to the chair. We will also require the officer to attend our monthly meeting to explain why our recommendations have not been completed. We require monthly updates from officers regarding progress in implementing our recommendations. These updates can be in writing to the chair or attendance at the panel’s monthly meeting We will send letters immediately after the board meeting, to thank everyone who took part in this review. The panel feel that it is important let people know how their involvement has made a difference, as well as thanking them for their input Concluding remarks Cobalt Housing Scrutiny Panel as entered their third year and panel members have travelled up and down the country getting advice and giving advice at different networking events and training courses, Other panels around the country are now benchmarking our progress and reviews. Cobalt Housing Independent Scrutiny Panel is seen by different organisations as an excellent example of a “co-regulatory framework” So the panel members was surprised and disappointed when they discovered that other Housing Association in England, Scotland and Wales (examples below) have embraced a recycling policy and Cobalt Housing have no recycling policy in place. Magna Housing Association - Dorchester based organisation has installed nine recycling points in its yard to ensure that more waste than ever is given a new lease of life. Last year they recycled 67 per cent of their waste. This year, they hope to get in the top 90s.” Magna Housing Association is a similar size to Cobalt Housing who owns more than 6,000 properties across Dorset, Somerset and Devon. It is the panels understanding the Environmental Agency will introduce legislation over the next two years that will call on business to segregate waste at source. Panel members sifted through seven bags of perceived confidential waste and discovered that four out of the seven were non-confidential waste and could be disposed of in the normal way. A saving of £7.50 a bag spread over twelve months is a saving of £360 a year It is argued that business that fully embrace a recycling policy can achieve savings of at least 1% of turnover through waste management. Based on a surplus of five million pounds the savings could be in excess of fifty thousand pounds. 7

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8 The introduction of an energy performance certificate at Cobalt Housing Head Office should make significant savings There seems to be no impetus from Cobalt housing to implement a recycling policy, when the Director of Property Service and Director of Neighbourhood Services have confirmed that Cobalt Housing “are NOT recycling any goods”. The Director of Neighbourhood Services is quoted as saying “[she] is considering revisiting recycling again in the future, however this is not to implement a process - it is to identify whether it is a viable service”. The future is now! It is a legal requirement that Cobalt Housing store goods under TORT. Goods are kept for twenty eight days and disposed of. This once again at a cost to Cobalt Housing. As a nation we generate about 177 million tonnes of waste every year in England alone. This is a poor use of resources and costs businesses and household’s money. It also causes environmental damage. It’s about Cobalt Housing doing their bit for the environment and saving money at the same time. A selection Web sites with recycling policies http://www.cubehousing.co.uk/Whatsnew/News/ColinandJustinrecycling. http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/9061990.Magna_Housing_Association_on_r ecycling_drive/ http://www.pvha.co.uk/2009/09/everything-including-the-kitchen-sink/ The Scrutiny Panel would like to thank-: Facilities Manager Karen Palmer for her help Resident’s involvement team (in particular (Jackie Hart) helped enormously arranging interviews and material required to complete this review, without sacrificing the panel’s independence. The Senior Management Team and the Board for their continued support 8

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9 (Appendix 1) Extract from Cobalt Housing Value for money policy The purpose of these reviews is to deliver real improvements in VFM. Existing systems and processes will be challenged to ensure they are lean, add value, and do not contain waste. Effective use of technology will be a key consideration. The reviews with involve all stakeholders from staff to customers and look at: Whether we need the service and the importance customers place upon it how cost effective it is and-: How it compares with the service of other providers Identifying examples of good and best practice How the service can be improved the potential to achieve savings In line with our Continuous Improvement Strategy all our improvement projects will be adequately resourced, driven by clear action plans and supported by a clear project management methodology. We will monitor and record the outcomes against our original objectives to ensure that the expected benefits are realised. 9

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(Appendix 2) 10

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