Bin collection satisfactoin below national average in Falkirk Council area

An annual report comparing councils’ performance revealed that Falkirk has one of the lowest satisfaction rates in Scotland for bin collections.

Monday, 5th April 2021, 5:00 am
Photographer Ian Georgeson.

A report to Falkirk Council’s scrutiny committee revealed that 62 per cent of adults locally were satisfied with refuse collection in 2019/20 – compared with the 74 per cent Scottish average.

Douglas Duff, acting director of development services, said that the data came from an annual report that showed considerable variation from year to year. Adding: “It’s quite a small survey of about 250 residents, so it’s not sufficiently robust.”

Mr Duff defended the council’s performance: “Our service is aware of the turmoil arising from lockdown but our council was one of the first to get a full service back and we have sustained that through the whole of lockdown.”

He added: “We do get periodic complaints – there’s alway complaints about missed bins and these kinds of thing – but the service does attend to any complaints very promptly and tries to make sure the level of satisfaction is improving, despite the circumstances were working in.”

The report found that Falkirk Council was above average for the amount of household waste that is recycled – with 53 per cent, compared to the Scottish average of just under 45 per cent.

And more than 60 per cent of the Falkirk population were happy with street cleansing, compared to the 63 per cent Scottish average.

The report also found that Falkirk Council was in the bottom quartile for town centre vacancy rates in 2019/20, with 14 per cent in Falkirk compared with nearly 12 per cent nationally.

Mr Duff admitted that the data was “concerning”, particularly because the most up-to-date figures would be much higher, following the impact of the coronavirus crisis on town centre traders.

But, he said, work was ongoing to repurpose Falkirk town centre, moving towards more residential and non-retail use.

The report, however, also highlighted several areas where Falkirk Council is among the best in Scotland.

In economic development, Falkirk fares well when comparing the average time taken to deliver a commercial planning application decision, the proportion of people earning less than the living wage and the proportion of properties receiving superfast broadband.

In housing, it is one of the quickest areas when looking at the average time taken to complete non-emergency repairs, while the percentage of council houses that are energy efficient is 96.37 per cent, compared to 84.1 per cent nationally.

There were also some good results for Falkirk Council’s education services: attainment for all children in S4 and S6 has increased and is above the Scottish average, while average tariff scores are also in the top eight councils in Scotland.

The attainment gap between pupils in the least deprived and most deprived is also lower in Falkirk (585 points) than in Scotland (591).

Falkirk also fared well when comparing the number of sick days that teachers had taken in 2019/20, with an average locally of 4.88 compared to the Scottish average of 6.4 days per cent.