Visualising missed collection performance to enable waste management to make decisions and intervene to improve the service and relationship with communities

Full Application: Not funded at this stage

  1. Understanding the wider scale of opportunity by engaging across multiple local authorities to test appetite for adoption of our previous Alpha proposal and resulting prototype.  Exploring the ICT landscape and estate of each authority and what that says about the national picture.
  2. Exploring the larger procurement landscape, plans and costs of change and implementation and therefore the national opportunity for savings and efficiencies.
  3. Developing further iterations to our earlier prototype to include missed streets which can be integrated with systems and prevent known failure demand.  Furthermore how this can be shared in the public space to inform members and the public resulting in a reduction in calls and requests.
  4. Honing our code and guidance to enable other LA’s to use off the shelf from scratch.

Missed bin reports are a problem to all LAs that have responsibility for them, provoking an emotive response from residents and members.

The result is significant 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 has been 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.  We have a developed prototype from our first round funded project tested and replicated with alternative technology by our collaborator Leeds City Council.


Extending our earlier Alpha and iterating our waste dashboard and intelligence function to include missed streets we see as a big prize, especially where we can let residents know via our website and on-line e forms preventing reports. 

Demonstrating across multiple councils and making available to operational management to test and generate buy in to engage in our user research to prove the national opportunity.

Exploring the commercial space of procurement and wider cost of change and disruption.

The dashboard will provide analysis 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 

  • Understanding of the wider technology and ICT strategies across a wide range of councils
  • Understanding the national economic picture with regard to ICT and procurement planning 
  • Further iteration of the prototype dashboard able to drill down to underlying causes of failure to enable behaviour change across the community and the service including missed streets
  • Targeted approach easily monitored across rounds
  •  Reduction in failure demand
  • Increased customer and community satisfaction
  • Quality documentation enabling collaborators to replicate the approach
  • Data standards to be shared and explored further across collaborators waste services and back office systems
  • Transferring skills to collaborators access, manipulate and code to visualise the data
  • Expanding agile and service design capabilities across the collaborators

The objective locally is to enable services to reduce failure, avoid multiple contacts and focus on the service delivery. 

Costs for missed bins are high and scaled up at a high level nationally are in the order of £Millions.  This contrasts with a national reduction in spending on waste services as reported by BBC news, falling from £1Bn in 2010/11 to £888M 2017/18.

Wider implications are the impact on Health and Wellbeing, poor sanitation and rodent infestation.  Where locality issues become extreme there is a loss of the sense of pride of place and the community becoming disinterested in taking ownership.  This conflicts with the national agenda of empowering people and communities to do more for themselves and getting greater participation in the community.  Clearly impacting on Health and Social Care and the level of available community capacity.

Furthermore there is a direct correlation of overflowing missed bins and fly-tipping, excessive side waste and generally poor street scene.  This exacerbates the problem over wider services and agencies adding to the cost and complexity of resolution. At the extremity large amounts of rubbish are a risk of arson and therefore risk to life, impacting on Fire and Rescue Services.

Locally, we have analysed the internal costs to the council, the findings are – an average of £2.55 reported missed bin, rising to £24.10 where a low level intervention i.e. complaint response and £67.19 for a complex stage 2 complaint with an investigation and / or revisit.  This means a considerable waste of resources for each authority, for North 

East Lincolnshire council this is approximately £80K pa.  Wider this means impact on investigators, complaints handlers processing revisits and fleet provision.

As all local authorities are different, different tech, contracts, fleet arrangements and corporate structures with differing priorities based on political will, there is no simple model to aggregate the national picture.  The aim of this phase is to get a better view and an understanding of larger cohort of authorities.

Pure aggregation from the earlier work the national scale of impact was shown to be £Millions, meaning real value but at what cost of change, this further work aims to give greater clarity to that business case.

Total resolution is unlikely but extracting key issues in a visual format is a massive opportunity and key to LAs to resolve problems, manage service delivery, improve performance and customer satisfaction.

Project Approach

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

Events and Milestones during development will include:

Understanding the wider ICT infrastructure, ways of working and procurement plans across multiple collaborating councils – discovery user research

Understanding the service design and dynamics in a complex area for multiple LA’s – discovery user research

Show and Tells live stream via google hangouts

Prototype iteration and demo

Project retros

Final outputs approved and agreed

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 December 2019.

The project team across all authorities will maintain regular contact using collaborative tools such as Slack, Trello, Microsoft Teams (where available) and video conferencing to review progress and ensure that risks and issues are identified and the required action taken to maintain progress.

Support from MHCLG may include:

  •         Relevant training for the core project team
  •         Access to central resources such as earlier user research
  •         Access to key skills and resources such as Economist, independent challenge of the outputs
  •         Access to key skills such as user research or service designer
  •         Access to key skills such as technical author