A common problem that many Local Authorities (LA) face is illegal fly tipping. At a time when budgets remain tight, LAs must find the most efficient operational solutions possible to manage fly tipping. Whilst all Council’s will have an Environmental team that will investigate and prosecute on fly tip reports, a multitude of different teams and individuals will find and clear up a fly tipped mess – As a result, LAs achieve operational efficiencies. If a LA only had one single team looking for and clearing up fly tipping, we would spend a great deal of time and resource travelling across the district. In many of these geographical area, there are already Council teams working to improve the local area in different ways, we simply need to equip them with the right digital tools to gather the information we need. For example housing associations have caretakers who clean up fly tipping on their own land, and street cleansing staff will collect fly tipping whilst out on litter patrol. There are 7 additional teams in Kirklees Council that will clean up fly tipping in the most efficient way possible. What tools do these teams have to:
- ensure the right data is captured to measure operational efficiencies; and
- deliver consistency of data when reporting to DEFRA on Waste Data Flow (WDF)?
Across many LAs in England, there is scope for a digital solution to help with the following:
– Provide a more detailed understanding of the myriad of operations taking place across the LA to tackle fly tipping.
– Provide a better understanding of how much time and resource different teams are spending on fly tipping to help quantify the efficiency being delivered.
– Provide a more consistent recording methodology for fly tipping.
– Identifying and creating common links between different fly tipping incidents to support enforcement prosecutions.
A visual summary of the digital solution proposed is shown in the diagram below.
Please note: This diagram could not be included due to limitations of application portal. Please can this be submitted in another way?
Resources for Project Delivery
The Discovery phase of this fly-tipping project will be delivered using current in-house resources. Kirklees Council can commit to dedicating specialists in various teams that could offer valuable skills to deliver a successful project, including the following:
|Corporate Programme Manager||Central coordination of the project, leading on successful achievement of project deliverables|
|IT Project Experts||Support design and lead on development of the digital solutions.|
|Enforcement Manager||Lead service for fly-tipping providing clear identification of the problem and suitability of proposed solutions.|
|Business Intelligence Team||Lead on data return requirements to DEFRA and other statutory and/or corporate data requirements.|
|Service Experts||Advising on maintaining service delivery efficiencies across the Council.|
There are various stages required to achieve a deliverable approach that addresses the fly-tipping problem proposed in this discovery project.
|Deadline||Event / Activity||Milestone|
|03 December 2018||Announcement of projects selected for funding.||Funding|
|10 December 2018||Continue to promote this project to other local authorities to achieve a project partner.||Partnership working|
|19 December 2018||Project Team meeting to discuss:
– Formal identification of all affected services / partners within the Council
– Formal partnership agreement
|Project Initiation Meeting|
|28 January 2019||Clearly defined baseline
Process mapping current processes across all internal services / partners.
|28 February 2019||Build key detailed deliverables for new system and consult with all internal services/partners.
Process mapping for new IT service.
Create specification for IT service required.
|Defining Deliverables / Objectives|
|15 March 2019||Test deliverability of solutions across all internal services / partners.
Engage with potential providers – market testing.
Test solutions against key objectives.
|Testing Deliverables / Objectives|
|29 March 2019||Refine solutions following consultation feedback.||Refine Deliverables|
|12 April 2019||Write up and share the project findings:
● Business case
● User research report
● Recommendation report
|Discovery Outputs Published|
Benefits for Service Providers:
Fly-tipping is a significant issue for local authorities and a drain on financial and time resources at all stages. Development of a unified reporting methodology would:
- Help teams to break out of silo working when dealing with a shared issue
- Automatically assign tasks to teams
- Save staff time by avoiding re-entering duplicate entries or copying reports from other sources
- Prevent the reporting of duplicate incidents
- Ensure reporting data is of a uniform standard and quality
- Provide regular and clean datasets for Business Intelligence and Waste Data Flow reporting purposes. Saving significant time from cleaning up data and chasing sources.
- Allow trends for time and localities to be identified with greater ease
- Ensure the methodology for national reporting is consistent, and allow councils to compare their own fly-tipping stats against one another on a level playing field
- Using GIS layers, allow the ownership of the land where an incident has occurred to be automatically ascertained as part of the report. This will allow for more accurate management of back-charging between services.
Residents would be able to report fly-tipping directly, as well as being able to recognise if an incident has already been reported. Allows residents a progress update on incident. This would boost public confidence in the council and the ease of reporting would lead to cleaner streets.
Current Cost of the Problem:
A number of different staff members in various services across the Council currently manage the above enquiries manually in and amongst other work. Full Time Equivalent (FTE) salaries of staff ranges from approximately £18,000 – £30,000. The range of services and partners affected by fly tipping includes:
– Environmental Enforcement Team
– Street Cleansing Team
– Bin Collection Team
– Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing
– Recycling & Waste Advisors
– Kirklees Direct (Customer Services Team)
– Parks Team
If we simply analyse costs associated with the Enforcement Team and Street Cleansing Team, we would estimate around the following amount of funding saved based on the amount of time currently spent by Officers in the service:
Environmental Enforcement Team = £16,500
Street Cleansing Team = £32,000
It is assumed that the five additional services identified may also realise savings from an improved reporting system.
Benefits for Local People:
The Discovery project would include an interactive GIS based system that allows anyone in the local area to report a fly tipping incident online. This instant report of information with automated triage-type technology would allow the Council to manage fly tipping incidents more quickly, with the correct service responding the first time.
It is proposed to develop an agnostic systems methodology which can be readily adapted to different IT solutions at different organisations. The research proportion of the project will include gathering financial and qualitative information allowing the Council to explain savings and other benefits which could be achieved across a number of different authorities.
At this stage, Kirklees Council has issued correspondence to a number of other local authorities seeking partnership working for this funding application. Unfortunately at this stage, we have not received a response. However, over the application review period, the Council will continue to promote this Discovery project amongst all our waste-related networks to seek at least a second authority.
In the meantime, the Council has engaged with Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH). KNH is an Arms-Length Management Organisation (ALMO) owned by Kirklees Council to manage social housing within the District. KNH collaborate with the Council on a number of projects across the District. A number of tiers within KNH their services are affected by fly tipping including Caretakers and Housing Officers. They would therefore benefit from an improved digital system for reporting.
We envisage having a key KNH Officer on the Project Team to ensure that system design provides them with equitable benefits. As identified in response 2 above, benefits realisation research will be achieved using the process mapping methodology which is not reliant on a specific piece of software, and uses datasets which would be common to all councils and KNH.
A secure web-based data sharing tool called ‘Sharepoint’ is common between Kirklees Council and KNH and will be used to share project documentation quickly and effectively. Sharepoint also manages version control.
We will create a project team whose members have clearly defined roles and whose outputs are properly scoped and circumscribed by deadlines. There will be one Project Controller.
It is envisaged that all following project Outputs will be achieved by April 2019.
|Project Initiation Document||Specifying scope of project, objectives and deliverables. It will include timescales and list resources available.|
|Project Plan||All project tasks placed on an implementation timeline.|
|Work Packages||Specifying details of tasks to be performed, teams required to perform tasks and deadlines set.|
|User Research Report||Identifying all the research completed and steps taken. This will be the key document available to other authorities to implement a replicated project. It will include an analysis of the current ‘as is’ processes and the proposed ‘new’ digital assistive processes based on research completed which will be aimed at delivering improved, more efficient services for the Council and residents. This document will form the basis for service delivery in line with the Local Digital Declaration signed by Kirklees Council. This report will include an executive summary, outlining key project aims, objectives and resulting recommendations for taking this project forward.|
|Business Case||Information will be captured on the current internal and partner processes and comparisons will be made to the new proposed solution. A value for money business case will be provided to evidence the potential savings, efficiencies and return on investment which this Discovery Project can deliver for progressing through to an Alpha project, if successful. This Business Case (alongside all other documented outputs above) can be utilised by other local authorities or public sector organisations wishing to address the same problem.|
Due to the nature of fly-tipping, almost all mobile teams have some level of contact with fly-tipping. Our users (or service provider teams) are the bulleted service teams listed in response 3 above. Added to this list is the Business Intelligence Teams which manage data outcomes of any digital systems provided by the Council and KNH.
How these teams deal with fly-tipping varies greatly. Many incidents may go unreported as some teams could potentially collect fly-tipped materials without logging details for submission to DEFRA.
Our service users are:
o Members of the public
o Government bodies for reporting statistics
We aim to consult with all stakeholders including staff that are involved in the logging, processing of data, clearing fly-tipping incidents. This will be achieved through the process mapping exercises. Councillors and members of the public are involved in reported fly-tipping and will be consulted on any new processes proposed.
User research and engagement shall be undertaken at all levels utilising Agile methodology to involve all stakeholders. Relevant teams would have to be consulted directly to ensure the programme is relevant to all parties and during the project a series of workshop events will be held. Agile working will engage stakeholders at all stages of development to ensure the resulting product is easy to use and fit for purpose.
Office 365 platforms such as Sharepoint will be used to develop online user forums within Council networks.
Councillor engagement will be included in the Discovery phase. Often representing the views of residents, Councillors will have input into what a new system should include (within the scope of the project). The Discovery phase will include a communications strategy for roll out to residents, which would be explored in greater detail in an Alpha project. Councilllors will have input into this document.
User Research Objectives
New processes proposed as part of this Discovery project must fit smoothly into teams existing work patterns and available equipment. In addition, it must be easy to use and fit for purpose, without creating more issues than it resolves. User research objectives are to discover the views of the various stakeholders. For example: obtaining users views on the ‘Report It Portal’; obtaining views on adoption of the ‘self-serve’ concept; exploring potential back-office issues with auto-triaging; understanding whether field workers would welcome the opportunity to work in a more mobile and agile way; and so on.
The user research is essential to help understand:
· Approximately how much fly-tipping is cleaned but not reported
· Main obstacles to better reporting of fly-tipping incidents
· Why is reporting difficult at present
· Have difficulties been down to resources or management
· How much time and money does a team spend on cleaning up fly-tipping
· What systems does a team currently use for fly-tipping reporting, if any
· What system does a team use for work scheduling, and can fly-tip reporting be integrated into this
· What are user requirements and priorities for each individual team
· What equipment is available, e.g. do operatives have smartphones or tablets on their person which could be used to access a form or app? Do they have computers at their respective depots which could be used to complete these reports?
Working with different departments and teams will provide an excellent platform for extending the programme to other councils, as many issues will have been considered and overcome. Kirklees is at an advantage to undertake such a task due to the highly varied physical geography and social demographics of the area.
The solution is heavily dependent on Firmstep developers, a software programme procured by the Council. Any other software development provider used by another authority can apply the same principles to their provider. We already have a sizeable team committed to Firmstep project development across the whole of Kirklees Council, but would welcome any additional technical resources to support them.
Basic Agile Training has been provided in IT services but may need cascading to the entire project team.
Help with sharing Discovery Project outputs with other local government sectors would be welcome.
Despite our efforts working within our networks, we have not attracted another local authority as a partner project. We would welcome help engaging other LAs into this project.
No grant funding has been received in the past for this project.