Agenda item



The Committee considered the Audit Wales – Review of Waste Service presented by Mrs Alison Lewis.  The purpose of the audit was to review whether the Council has in place proper arrangements to plan and deliver its waste services sustainably.  The report summarised the main findings arising from the audit undertaken by Audit Wales of the Council’s Waste Services.


Appended to the report was a draft action plan which aimed to address the 8 key recommendations as a result of the audit findings.  The report sought the Committee’s approval of the draft action plan which had been set out in preparation of formal submission to Audit Wales. 


The following observations/issues were raised on the report:-


·       In relation to the ongoing concern regarding the matter of fly-tipping, it was raised that there was additional concern in relation to potential fly-tipping due to the proposed changes to waste collection services in future.


·       Reference was made to the section within the report which states that the Council does not report the actual number of fly-tipping incidents or its relative performance against other councils.  However, concern was raised that Councils in Wales report their fly-tipping incidents differently and therefore the figures were not consistent or a true reflection of incidents.  It was suggested that a report on the progress of the action plan be added to the Committee’s Forward Work Programme in 6 – 12 months’ time.


As fly-tipping was a national issue, it was asked if the national database used to capture and record incidents could be standardised?  Reference was made to Exhibit 5: Fly-tipping incidents by Local Authority 2019-20 within the report, which illustrated that fly-tipping was a national problem.   It was reported that one of the primary reasons could be attributed to Carmarthenshire recording all its fly-tipping incidents within the County, whereas this may differ from other Councils recording methods. In light of this, it was commented that the information depicted in the graph may not be a true reflection of the number of fly-tipping incidents in comparison with the other 22 Local Authorities in Wales and the validity of the data provided was questioned. 

The Head of Waste and Environmental Services reported that discussions were currently taking place via the WLGA, specifically on the subject of fly-tipping.  It was explained that the issue was not directly attributed to the database itself but was primarily attributed to inconsistency of particulars being recorded for each Council. 


·      It was expressed that whilst acknowledging that fly-tipping across the County was a significant problem, it was pleasing to affirm that Officers and operatives were efficient in managing the clearance of fly-tipping.

·       In response to a query in relation to the implementation of the new Waste Strategy, the Head of Waste and Environmental Services explained that the new waste strategy, subject to it being adopted by Cabinet, would be implemented in a 2-phase approach. The first phase would be a transitional step to weekly recycling collections of blue bags (with a 3-weekly collection of black bags and glass) in Autumn 2022 and the second phase would enable the full implementation of the kerbside-sort methodology in Spring/Summer 2024.


·       A concern was raised that whilst the action plan put before the Committee for approval addresses the Audit Wales’ recommendations at a very high-level, the plan did not include the level of detail required to understand how the actions would be carried out.  The Head of Waste and Environmental Services confirmed that a more extensive action plan would underpin this action plan and would be monitored via the internal performance monitoring system (PIMS) and the departmental business plans.


·       In response to a concern in respect of the actions that were illustrated in red within the action plan as not being commenced and others that were in progress (amber), the Head of Waste and Environmental Services stated that in relation to performance indicators, the ones currently reported were mainly national indicators that were set by Welsh Government and performance was measured accordingly. Consideration would now be given to additional local indicators. In terms of progressing the forward waste strategy, it was explained that this could not be progressed with confidence until Welsh Government had indicated their willingness to support the strategy financially. An agreement in principle of £14.6m funding support from the Welsh Government has now been received and would now enable the strategy to be further developed in more detail, having set out the wider principles.  To date, the Council had operated its waste services without the amenity of supplementary capital support and therefore without Welsh Government funding, implementation of such a significant change, at a large cost, to a kerbside sort methodology in accordance with Welsh Government’s preferred “blueprint” method would not have been possible. Furthermore, the funding in principle agreement was received after the audit took place hence the timing and the status of the strategy action plan items being shown as “in progress”.




4.2.1   the Review of Waste Service, July 2021 be received;


4.2.2   the draft action plan as set out in the preparation of formal                 submission to Audit Wales be approved;


4.2.3   an update on the progress of the action plan be included on the                Governance and Audit Committee’s Forward Work Programme.


Supporting documents: