Wealden District Council

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Ask the Leader

The Leader of Wealden District Council is Councillor Bob Standley. He will be pleased to answer any question you may have about Wealden District Council's policies, or other matters involving the Council, which you think are of interest to people living, working or visiting Wealden.

To ask your question, please use our or Ask the Leader - Submit a Question Form

Councillor Standley is the Conservative Leader of the Cabinet of Wealden District Council and has represented Wadhurst since 2004.

Specific inquiries about particular services such as planning applications, licensing or accommodation can be reported online. Please use our 'directory of tasks on online services' to find the appropriate form. You can also email info@wealden.gov.uk.

We will try to respond within ten working days of receiving your question and your question and the Leader's reply will then be posted on the website. Please provide your name, we don't need your address. If we think the question is inappropriate for publication we will contact you by email to say why.

For information on any of the Ask The Leader questions listed please contact our Communications Officer on pr@wealden.gov.uk.

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The latest Ask the Leader questions and answers are shown below. To view more questions and answers, use the search above, or the 'In this Section' menu.

Policy on missed garden waste bins

Question

 

Could you tell me   what the policy is regarding missed collections of paid for green waste? I   have tried asking waste collection services, but have received a cut and   paste generic reply which says they can’t answer individual queries. Inspite   of repeated failures to collect green waste I have bitten the bullet and   ordered a second paid for bin (hope over experience) as we will paying for   this service anyway from next year. Not entirely unexpectedly the collection   has fallen at the first hurdle. Any other business would have to compensate   customers for the failure to provide a service they have paid for, will this   be the case with this service or are we all just paying and crossing our   fingers? Incidentally please don’t remind me I can report a missed collection-   I know that and it’s a complete waste of time.

Victoria De'Ath

Answer

Dear Ms De’Ath,

 

Thank-you for your enquiry. I am very sorry you have received such a poor service recently from our contractor Kier. We are currently taking a range of steps to ensure that the level of service you and other Wealden residents receive from the company improves for the remaining 12 months of their contract.

Kier have two working days to collect a missed bin after it has been notified to the Council – either through a phone call to our customer contact centre or online through https://my.wealden.gov.uk/ . If they fail to do so, we can apply financial defaults through the contract. If we have no record of the missed collection, we cannot apply the defaults.

Your council tax, which is collected by Wealden District Council, pays for a wide range of public services including education, social services, highways, public housing and the police and fire services. The cost of an individual household waste collection comes to about 34p a week in your total council tax bill. Even in the case of a very large service failure, it would cost more to the Council, and ultimately the tax payer, to distribute this level of compensation than the compensation itself. Next year garden waste will become a paid-for service and we will be looking at the policy options for when collections are missed.

The performance by Kier in recent weeks has been extremely disappointing, but 95 % of all bins are still being collected within one day of schedule. 

Nevertheless we expect to be providing you with a much better service in the future.

Yours

Bob Standley

Openness and transparency

Question

I am not sure what as Leader of the District Council your aspirations for the authority are however I would hope that you would agree that a forward thinking Council operating in a 21st century local government environment would conduct its business and delivery its services to certain core organisational values including openness, transparency, high customer service and being prepared to be challenged when this is justified. Do you agree?

If so could you explain and justify why the Council has adopted a corporate complaint policy which prohibits and embargos any resident from making a valid complaint when they experience errors/mistakes and/or poor service in the operation of the Councils planning service and decision making. (I am not referring to the actual planning merits of a planning case but any other planning service related matters)

Kelvin Hinton

Answer

Dear Mr Hinton

 As Leader, I and my fellow Councillors have faith in our Officers that they will do their best to meet and anticipate the needs and wishes of our communities.  As part of this, the Council aims to be open and transparent in its decision making and processes. This is important to me as it helps inform the public about our work.  Our complaints process helps us to listen to the concerns of the community we serve, and learn from any investigations carried out. Services and processes can then be reviewed if deemed necessary.

 My aspirations for the Council are set out in the WDC Corporate Plan that you can find here: http://www.wealden.gov.uk/nmsruntime/saveasdialog.aspx?lID=17653&sID=5777.

 You are correct to note that there are exclusions from the complaints procedure in areas where queries are more appropriately dealt with in other ways. A good example is where a third party disagrees with the merits of a planning decision or where there is another legal remedy or right of appeal.

 It is often difficult to separate out complaints about the conduct of an Officer in the making of a planning decision, and the decision of that Officer. In such cases, the relevant Service Head makes a judgement about the thrust of a particular ‘complaint’ to decide whether to pass it through the complaints procedure or not. In such cases the reasoning is clearly explained to the customer and where appropriate attempts will be made to answer any questions.

 

Regards

 

Bob Standley





For information on any of the Ask The Leader questions listed please contact our Communications Officer on pr@wealden.gov.uk.