Visualising Failure in Waste Services

Full Application: Funded

Missed bin reports are a problem to all LAs that have responsibility for them.

The impact is customer contact through whatever channel, some of which is real and some through residents not observing the terms and conditions of the service.

Understanding the true picture is difficult and makes informative action complex.
Our aim is to create data visualisation for the failure demand to inform targeted resources to address the problem by either education, enforcement or resolving locality problems such as poor parking.
The impact locally is to enable services to reduce failure, avoid multiple contacts and focus on delivery of the service. Costs for missed bins are high and scaled up nationally in the order of £Millions.
Total resolution is unlikely but extracting key issues in a visual format is a massive opportunity and key to LAs.

Develop and deliver a minimum viable product of a waste dashboard and intelligence function which is available to improve operational management, identify root causes for failure demand to inform service improvement to deliver first time, on-time, every time. The dashboard will analyse by round, ward, collection type for missed and missed assisted collections. Details of addresses of repeat offenders of contaminated waste or of additional side-waste to drive education and enforcement activity, improve customer satisfaction and enable service efficiency across the wider organisation i.e. waste teams, customer services,complaints.

Measuring Success
Delivery of dashboard able to drill down to underlying causes of failure to enable behaviour change across the community and the service
Targeted approach easily monitored across rounds
Reduction in failure demand
Quality documentation enabling collaborators to replicate the approach
Data standards to be implemented and developed across collaborators waste services and back office systems
Transferring skills to collaborators to access, manipulate and code to visualise the data

Project Approach
The project will be developed in house utilising skills across the digital team, ICT and service areas and working with our collaborators.

Events and Milestones during development will include:

  • Understanding the user journey and user needs – discovery user research
  • Understanding the service design and dynamics in a complex area – discovery user research
  • Show and Tells
  • Prototype building
  • Reiteration
  • Project retros
  • Final report approved
  • Outputs published

Project Management
The project will be managed in an agile way through a series of sprints to maintain regular communication across the dispersed project team and ensure that the project progresses as required to ensure delivery by the end of March 2019.
The lead officers from each authority will meet monthly in a virtual project board format to review progress and ensure that risks and issues are identified and the required action taken to maintain progress.
Project Plan



The project is addressing a critical issue to all councils for collection of domestic (residual waste), domestic recycling and garden waste.

Failure demand creates rework, repeat contacts, complaints, investigation and harms the reputation of all councils.
The costs of a missed collection is estimated at £68 per bin where an additional collection is made, £24 where complaint is investigated but crews do not return and £3 where the report is withdrawn without investigation usually due to bin not having been presented on time. If this escalates to a complaint with an investigation and officer response the costs rise even further as highlighted in section 3. As the waste service collects from all households, it is the highest volume service that each council operates so small changes have great impact.

By reducing failure demand by half this would potentially save £40,068 in North East Lincolnshire. And potentially save 2 x FTE( £42k) in rework by a manual revisit to collect, investigations, business support.
The Alpha will enable early identification of issues with regard to staff behaviour and customer behaviour.
The prototype is scalable across additional services and areas of councils that have volume issues with failure demand.
Across the public estate considering missed bins or any service failure the impact is similar to missed appointments and of the order of the £Bn’s.

The benefits of reducing failure demand span whole systems:

  • Reducing missed appointments
  • Improve service delivery rates
  • Improve efficiency
  • Improve resident confidence and reputation of LA’s
  • Reduce lost and wasted resource
  • Reduce rework
  • Reduce complaints
  • The impact of all of the above is releasing capacity in pressured services to manage the planned work and reduce risk of failure which is exponential if not addressed.

We have conducted a deep dive discovery and have ratified a number of options to manage the demand, on of of which is the visualisation of the data, reasons and how this can feed into a daily report to manage key issues like missed streets.
The impact locally is to enable services to reduce the failure, avoid multiple contacts in the wider sense and focus on their role and deliver the service. Costs for missed bins can run up to £150 per bin locally if escalated to a corporate complaint and scaled up nationally in the order of £Millions. Access the discovery outputs via the link above
Username LDDNEL
Password NELldf18#

How will this be value for money
By enabling the service to target their resources and reduce failure demand, capacity is released to focus on other priority issues and their vulnerable residents.

By using shareable service patterns and widely available technology solutions we can replicate across many councils at scale with little or no cost.

We have used Oracle Application Express (APEX) to build an initial prototype of the system as this is a quick way of developing no-cost applications of the Oracle database. It was a tool we already have so we didn’t have to procure. APEX is an easy to use and learn system, which provides a high level of functionality with limited coding. APEX is also highly secure and can be run anywhere there is an Oracle database.

We intend to use tools that enable us to collaboratively manage the project and the work such as Slack, Trello, Google hangouts and Google Docs with our collaborators, in fact anything that will ensure that the project will progress. We will not rule out face to face meetings if all agreed that it was necessary.

We will communicate with other councils fully through Local Digital and in accordance with the Local Digital Declaration we all signed up to. In addition we will each collaborate on a regional basis through our existing networks and benchmarking arrangements. We will share user research and test our thinking in this phase of the work to ensure this meets the needs of the many.

We will communicate our findings via Blogs, social media, Closed Slack channel that interested parties can subscribe to and verifying our findings by getting others to test our work including a slack open day.

As part of the work, we will produce in addition to the required outputs, a quality product with documentation to support many councils to replicate the work and solution.

We will work with our collaborators to transfer skills to enable them to take advantage of our Alpha proposal and the lesson learned.

Output Action
Business case We will gather the information from  the partner council  to be able to make a business case, outlining the ‘as is’ and the  and prove a value for money benefits case. We will use the user researcher and data analyst to develop the business case.
User research report We will publish all outputs on an agreed platform throughout our rounds of user research, and will produce a final summary report in a format ready to be published on The user research team will make use of existing templates to present user research findings in a consistent way after every round of user research. A final user research report will also be produced.
A summary report & recommendations We will produce a report that either proposes how to take this project forward to Beta stage or explains why the work should not continue. We have the last week of March reserved for this work to ensure that the deadline is met.
Redesigned service map We will create an analysis of our current (‘as is’) and start an improved process map (‘to be’) that shows an improved process based on research.. The new process map will later on be used as a basis to redesign our service offer and produce a working prototype in Beta, if successful.
Beta EOI Draft EOI for an Beta for the next round of LD funding
Documentation to support the Alpha Quality documentation to support the replication and development of the Alpha product.  Enabling councils without the skilled resources to use it
Data standards and guidelines Enabling the service to identify the intelligence they need to access effectively


Our users are the service for the purpose of strategic and operational management.
Those benefiting as users of the improved service however and as documented in the discovery are our residents.
Part of the discovery will include a service analysis of potential uses of the Alpha to inform the Beta roadmap where we can have the greatest financial impact across all LA’s.

We will engage for our Alpha where all users can openly share feedback about the experience of the service and the effectiveness of the prototype we are looking to develop to an Alpha.

Our objectives for the user research is to:

  • Validation of the iterations
  • Testing the prototypes
  • Gaining insight and feedback
  • Observing users using the solution
  • Valuing the user and putting them at the heart of the designTo enable iteration based on the insight and feedback

Access to GDS training courses in particular any advanced training for Business Analysts and Delivery Leads.
We think there is a need for national collaboration in holding large product providers to account and that this is something the Local Digital Collaboration Unit and the MHCLG as a whole may be able to give focus and support. Support for communication to all LA’s that could benefit.

No funding  from any partners