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Serco defends its bin collection record to Breckland councillors after allegations of bullying

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Councillors have raised concerns about staff bullying and welfare at the contractor in charge of Breckland’s bin collection.

On Thursday, Ronnie Coutts from contractor Serco addressed councillor concerns at a meeting of the full council after several missed bin collections across the district, which includes the Swaffham area, in the past few months.

Explaining the issues, Mr Coutts said there have been HGV driver shortages across the UK in the last few months, in part down to the loss of drivers from the EU after Brexit and what he called the “Amazon effect” of people wanting more delivered.

LNF new waste collection contract (50843916)
LNF new waste collection contract (50843916)

The Serco representative said they had also found “weaknesses in our management team” and they had removed staff and members from elsewhere.

“Where we are getting behind we are getting behind in small figures,” he said.

Councillor Susan Dowling raised concerns about “significant pressure” being placed on workers and there had been reports of bullying.

Ms Dowling asked council leader Sam Chapman-Allen if Breckland had a duty of care to the workers.

Mr Chapman-Allen said Serco, like Breckland, has a whistleblowing policy and that any reports of bullying should be passed onto the company.

“If people have raised issues with yourself you have a moral obligation and a duty of care to pass that on to the head of paid services.

“She will not investigate it but she will pass it over to Serco, who are responsible and have a duty of care to their staff.”

Labour leader on the council, Terry Jermy said he had significant concerns about staff welfare and was reassured by Mr Coutts.

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