All-round efficiency in Solihull
Like all local authorities, Solihull Council has faced austerity measures affecting frontline services. Amey, as a service partner, has taken on the responsibility of finding new ways to deliver efficiencies and save money.
Amey has provided environmental and waste management services to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council since the mid-1990s. Our current contract began in 2008 and was extended for a further seven years in 2015. (Negotiations are being held for the period from 2022 up to 2036).
Managing such a wide range of services, from litter-picking and cemetery maintenance to household waste, recycling, and garden waste collection, allows us to seek new ways of combining and streamlining services.
“We know we’re only as efficient as our least efficient part of the contract, and we’re constantly looking for improvements,” says Steve Wightman, Amey’s Director for Solihull and Midlands.
The street scene service is a good example where we have created multi-task crews of six that work as one seamless, systematic service. It starts with the litter picking, and then comes mowing, strimming, blowing. This order of work ensures that litter is collected most efficiently and is not shredded during the grass-cutting.
The street scene crews can also now travel together in new Mercedes Sprinters, the only flatbed vehicles with a cab capable of carrying the entire team of six within the correct weight limits for the front axle. These have been designed to Amey’s specifications, with a number of safety features, a winch for heavy lifting, and a secure locker for tools.
Amey has also invested in 34 new Mercedes waste trucks, and the fleet is completed by (how many) Scarab and Johnson street sweepers, 11 Toros triple mowers, three rotary cutters, a batwing cutter, a gangmower and a tractor.
All the vehicles are maintained at Amey’s Moat Lane depot in Solihull by Workshop Manager Stephen Foster and team: “Taking it in-house saves money,” says Stephen. “We can manage costs by doing the maintenance more proactively and we have more control. We can deal with servicing and general wear and tear, including most of the bodywork and all of the tyres.”
Steve Wightman adds that this in-house approach has been made possible by the length and security of the contract. “It has allowed us to invest in well-equipped and maintained vehicles. It’s good for safety, good for customers and helps everyone’s budget.”