Bringing Location to Life - case study based on a presentation from James Atthews, Management Support Analyst and LLPG Custodian, Scarborough Borough Council at the GeoPlace conference
Our views on waste are changing. We’d all like to see fewer resources wasted, and we’d all like to live in a cleaner, healthier environment. To achieve those goals, we have to change the way waste is handled – more efficiently, more economically, more effectively.
All local authorities have a duty to provide a domestic waste collection service, in lieu of payments made via council tax. Over 23 million dwellings in England alone need a weekly or fortnightly refuse and recycling collection. With councils spending over £850m (in England) every year to deliver these services, even the smallest savings are welcome.
By putting precise, authoritative location data at the heart of its in-cab system, the Borough of Scarborough is saving over £100k each year on waste collection. Perhaps more importantly, this is the start of a transformation in efficiency and effectiveness that’s rolling out right across the authority’s connected departments, using location to ensure interoperability.
All kinds of waste is collected by bin lorries. Traditionally, refuse collection happens once a week, but many authorities have rolled out fortnightly schedules: bringing costs down, putting the focus on as much recycling (and reduced levels of waste) as possible. In the Borough of Scarborough, the local authority has implemented an in-cab system to improve the services it provides.
A UPRN-linked suite of databases is transforming this authority’s front-line waste collection services.
• As an end-to-end, connected solution – from a map, to a cab, to a household and beyond – the new system has reduced dependency on isolated databases and manual updates.
• With location the key to this increased connectivity, teams can optimise navigation from the outset – reducing emissions, reducing mileage, increasing efficiency all round.
• The joined-up approach has enabled the integration and management of bin collection based health and safety assessments.
• The team’s workflow has improved thanks to a single source database from which all property-related data is drawn, and no re-keying of timesheets at the end of the day.
Location-linked waste management details, such as bin licenses and active garden waste licenses can be accessed by the teams on their rounds. The system also takes input from the teams, using an in-cab portal to update the central database against cleansed and validated property details.
With council budgets continuing to shrink, but expectations of service level increasing, the focus on value has never been more important. Since the system went live, the Borough of Scarborough has saved over £20k in administration costs, £70k in the costs of reviewing collections manually, and over £15k through the removal of a separate in-cab tracking system.
In addition, the back-office teams now have more time to focus on other priorities. They’re no longer manually keying in data about refuse collections, or processing handwritten timesheets. There’s no scanning, or filing, which has reduced human error. And the sustained decrease in mileage is making a positive, sustained contribution to the authority’s social responsibility goals.
What’s more, the authority has linked its location-based in-cab service with an online customer portal, known as ‘Customer First’. This system uses the UPRN to verify details being submitted by householders, before passing it on to the right team for action.
“We’re currently working to establish direct links to the Gazetteer – this new system is helping us to improve the quality of the data we’re collecting.”
-James Atthews Management Support Analyst and LLPG Custodian, Scarborough Borough Council