Independent Waste Review

City of Port Phillip
Statement by Port Phillip Council Mayor Heather Cunsolo

Today, Port Phillip Council released two independent reports investigating why some residents’ kerbside bins weren’t collected after Citywide took over as the kerbside waste and recycling contractor on 1 July, 2023. This initiative underscores our commitment to transparency and accountability, especially concerning the challenges encountered during the transition of our waste collection services.

I must first express my sincere apologies for the inconvenience and disruption this transition has caused. The level of service disruption was entirely unacceptable, and for that, we are deeply sorry.

The release of these independent reports marks a crucial step towards rebuilding trust and moving forward. One report scrutinises some of the potential reasons for the missed bin collections, while the other evaluates the procurement process for engaging the new contractor, alongside our adherence to proper probity processes.

From these investigations, we’ve gained significant insights critical for the continuous improvement of our council and organisation. Among the key findings, it was identified that Citywide was not adequately prepared to deliver the services at the expected levels, notably failing to meet the route mapping requirements.

Moreover, the reports offered valuable feedback on how the Council might better manage transitions and planning phases when introducing new contractors, aiming to diminish the risk or severity of service delivery failures.

It’s noteworthy that in response to these challenges, Citywide and the Council collaborated diligently to resolve the disruption. This effort included mobilising additional resources, such as council staff and vehicles, to address the missed collections, which played a pivotal role in stabilising and ultimately rectifying the situation.

I’d like the community to know CEO Chris Carroll has already implemented some organisational changes along with enhanced procurement and contract management governance and practices, saying:

“There have been several changes to responsibilities, personnel, and resourcing. There were things we should have done better throughout the process, but critically we should have better interrogated Citywide’s assurances that they were good to go. All staff involved with this process have taken these learnings very seriously and will use this knowledge to avoid any future potential service issues. I apologise for the impact on our community and commit to the timely implementation of more measures in response to each of the recommendations”, Mr Carroll said.

We promised transparency by releasing these external reports, acknowledging our community’s right to understand what went wrong and why. Acknowledging the implementation of some recommendations by our CEO already, the Council has set a firm expectation for the prompt action on the remaining recommendations. This is to ensure that our community receives the high-quality services it expects and deserves.

Furthermore, the Council’s Audit and Risk Committee will closely monitor the implementation of these actions, with service performance continuing to be transparently reported in the monthly CEO Reports.

The findings in these reports suggest several oversights by both the Council and Citywide, leading to substandard service delivery. I am committed to ensuring that such issues do not recur and to significantly enhancing our operational capability and compliance. We will work with our contractor to ensure they meet expected service standards but we must also thoroughly review and improve our own processes. This commitment to action reflects our dedication to our community and the standard of service they rightfully expect.

I look forward to hearing your feedback and insights on these important reports.

The only information redacted relates to the identities of the other waste tenderers as this is not appropriate to share publicly.

  • What caused the missed kerbside bin collections?

  • What could Council have done better?

  • How are you responding to the independent reports?

  • Were your probity requirements adhered to?

  • Why was an employee of the City of Melbourne allowed on the panel?

/Public Release. View in full here.