Elmbridge Council discussed the “lessons learnt” from the new bin collection service that started in June this year, run by Amey.

At the cabinet meeting on November 15, a report recommended the council note that the reasons for the early failures in delivering the service were the contractor’s fault, but also that there were things the council could have done differently.

There were three areas included in the report.

The first was that “stronger scrutiny” of Amey, which the report stated was working to incomplete data and wrong assumptions, was required, and that although contractors are supposed to be experts, council officers should check the data.

Also mentioned was the time of the “mobilisation period”, which the report argued was too short to deal with problems when they occurred.

The third suggestion was that there were delays in the response.

The report read: “Alarm bells were starting to ring at the end of day one but there was a delay in responding, partly due to a degree of optimism bias, i.e. “it will settle down”, and partly because there wasn’t the capacity or flexibility at that stage to make changes.”

It recommended that in future, the council discusses scenarios with the contractor to work out their ability to resolve problems when they arise.

Cabinet decided to defer the report to another meeting, based on its lack of detail.

Councillor Janet Turner said: “I think this report is very light. I would like to see a lot more depth in it. It doesn’t answer some of the questions, and I think we could actually produce a far better document than we have here.”

It was agreed to send the report back to council officers to address the contract and its issues more widely.