Although I have many criticisms of my local council, the one thing I cannot complain about is the bin collection service. My bins are emptied when the council says they are going to be emptied.
If your council's Chief Executive went on holiday for a few months, I bet you wouldn't notice. If your bins aren't emptied, everyone notices as rubbish piles up in the streets. Sadly, for the residents of Brighton and Hove, rubbish piling up in the streets is an everyday part of life - one they wish they did not have to endure.
Understandably, residents are busy complaining to the council. The council has now responded by asking them not to call them as they cannot cope with the volume of calls. I can appreciate why the council has said this, however residents are also complaining that they have no option but to call as the council is not keeping its website, Facebook, and Twitter pages up-to-date. Their frustration is easy to understand especially when you think of how much they pay in Council Tax each year. When I took a look at the council's Twitter page, there was very little reference to the problem. One of the most recent tweets was promoting a mood-boosting book campaign! Even on the dedicated Twitter page of Cityclean very little information is being published.
This is not the first time residents have experienced problems though. In the middle of last year waste was piling up thanks to industrial action. Last October, the council introduced new rounds which has led to numerous complaints.
Brighton and Hove Council is run by a minority Green administration. Two years ago, the now leader, Cllr Jason Kitcat, urged all councils in the country to reject the Government's offer of a one-off grant to freeze Council Tax. He didn't get his way though as the opposition parties united to oppose a 3.5 per cent increase. No doubt he will blame the Government for the the council's current plight, although it is worth noting that Brighton and Hove appears to be the only council in the country who is failing to deliver an acceptable bin collection service. There certainly isn't another council that's performing as badly. For a party that promotes recycling as if it was a religion, this must be particularly embarrassing.
Waste collection is one of the most basic services councils provide. Residents in Brighton and Hove deserve better and it's up to Cllr Kitcat and his colleagues to ensure the current problems are resolved.