Street Cleaning and Open Space Management Review

Street Cleaning and Open Space Management Review Image

Major changes to street cleaning operations and open space management are being proposed as part of Dundee City Council’s efforts to find at least £28 million of savings as a result of the Westminster government’s spending review.

A report to be considered by the policy and resources committee on Monday December 7 will explain that £1.395 million of savings a year can be identified if a review of service delivery in these areas is implemented.

The move would also mean staffing levels would have to reduce by 45 full time equivalent posts. It is anticipated that this could be achieved by natural turnover and the council’s Voluntary Early Retirement/Voluntary Redundancy scheme over three years.

Capital investment of £2.6 million over two years for improvement projects in places like parks and open spaces, road and footpath verges would help deliver the revenue savings.

Council administration leader Councillor Ken Guild said: “There is no getting away from the fact that we are having to make very tough decisions that will mean changing the ways that we deliver services across Dundee.

“These proposals outline new working methods that will help increase efficiency. We cannot keep doing things the same way that we always have, especially given the challenging financial circumstances that councils are now operating in.

“We will be looking to consult with trade unions as soon as possible if this change is approved.”

The report explains that the council’s litter picking regime is based mostly on procedures from the early 1990s, and would now be brought fully in line with the Scottish Government’s Code of Practice on Litter. This focuses attention on how clean areas are, instead of how often they are swept.

New approaches in open space management have also been trialled with the introduction of new maintenance regimes including wildflower panels and  landscape features that require less maintenance.               

The report explains that the main areas for change in street cleaning will include the redesign and rationalisation of all manual and mechanical sweeping routes. There would be a reduction in routine sweeping in favour of more planned responsive activity. New sweeping routes will be redesigned using “Routesmart” software to ensure the most efficient routes are established.

Working patterns and a new operational structure for environmental management are also put forward by the review.

Depute environment convener Councillor Vari McDonald said: “Suggested alterations to street cleaning and open space management are designed to transform the way that operations are carried out so that we can maintain the city in a much more efficient way.

“We want to target resources, which are getting even scarcer, at the areas where they are most needed. This means that we need to use more effective ways of keeping our city clean.

“That is why we need to plan in a way to tackle problems as they occur rather than just routine sweeping. We need to modernise the way we deliver this service.

“The financial realities of 2015 mean that we cannot afford now to keep up a street cleaning and litter picking regime that is based upon practices from the early 1990s; this is simply no longer possible.

“Spending money on a series of capital improvements means that we can maintain  these areas in a more cost-effective manner in the future, allowing us to save money in the longer term.

“People across Dundee play an important partnership role already in helping to maintain our green spaces and I am pleased at the enthusiastic response to our Take Pride in Your City campaign.

“Dundee City Council is doing all it can to maintain the city’s environment, but changes have to be made to face up to enormous budget challenges.”

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