As I have been tied up preparing for the Victoria Quarter Planning Inquiry this will be a short blog.
The first point to mention is Capita. Labour may have won control of the Council but we are still stuck with Capita until September 2023 at the earliest. The latest figures show the bill continues to climb at just a whisker shy of £590 million.
Let's hope that between now and next year, the contract is brought to a close and we can regain control over these costly services.
The other thing I picked this week was the success or otherwise of penalising people who litter. This is a service that was also outsourced to Kingdom Services Group Limited. In the period February 2019 to November 2021, the contractor issued 8,760 fines for various forms of littering. The two largest categories are for dropping cigarette butts and fly tipping which together amount to 80% of all the fines issued. However, this is where things start to differ. Of the fines issued for cigarette littering, 65% are paid whereas for fly tipping only 16% of the fines are paid.
If people know they don't have to pay a fine, it stops acting as a deterrent. I asked about this problem three years ago and I was told then, "it takes longer to recover the fines for fly tipping". Sorry but that doesn't wash. For fines between January 2017 and December 2018, 25% of general littering fines remain unpaid but 57% of fly tipping fines in the same period are unpaid. I suspect it falls into the "too hard" category but if fly tippers know they have a better then 50% chance on not paying their fine, even if they are caught, then it is no surprise they keep fly tipping.