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Residential waste services require flexibility – and we’re committed to providing it

As an organisation we talk a lot about how our civic tech products are able to flex around individual authorities’ needs. This is not something we say because it sounds good; it is a commitment from us.

Take our residential waste management portal WasteWorks as an example. 

A waste service that works for everyone

WasteWorks is a front-end SaaS product which integrates with in-cab systems to simplify online access to all waste services associated with a property’s address, such as checking your bin days, ordering a new container or reporting a problem with a collection.

We built the core WasteWorks service in 2021 in collaboration with the London Borough of Bromley, who wanted to reduce the amount of unnecessary contact they were receiving about residential waste services caused by their existing processes. 

With that goal in mind, we equipped WasteWorks with the ability to not only let residents self-serve up-to-date information about their waste collections (including being able to download a live schedule to their device’s calendar), but also to ensure that reports of, for example, missed collections can only be made after the crew has completed their rounds.

Since launching for Bromley, WasteWorks has consistently achieved a 40% drop in unnecessary contact, and made the final of the LGC Awards 2022 in the Public/Private Partnership category. 

As more authorities have adopted the service, we have continued to add new functionality in alignment with the needs of our community of users, including:

  • Green garden waste subscriptions – enabling residents to subscribe to and pay for green waste collections
  • Bulky waste collection bookings – residents can book and pay for a one-off collection or subscribe to repeat collections if required
  • Small item collections – take bookings for the collection of small items, such as batteries and textiles
  • Assisted collection requests – let residents request help from your waste crew with their bin collection(s)
  • New container payments – take payments for new containers when requested by residents

The implementation of these features differs per council, adapting to their different rules, workflows and seasonal circumstances. 

Image shows a desktop and mobile version of the bulky waste collection service of WasteWorks for Kingston and Sutton

For example, where an authority needs to understand what and how many containers a property already has we are able to add in extra questions to gather this information.

In other instances, where an authority experiences shortages of sacks, we are able to give council staff the ability to temporarily switch off orders and communicate transparently. 

The future

Each council using WasteWorks has made it their own, with slightly different configurations to make it exactly what they need.

We can facilitate this because our software is built with local authority differences in mind. We have learned from delivering our long-running street and environment reporting service FixMyStreet Pro across over 30 authorities that even when the goal is the same, the approach can differ. We embed that flexibility into all of our products.

In terms of new developments, we will continue to be led by our users (both residents and staff) following our citizen-centred design principles. User groups enable us to bring everyone together to discuss ideas, while customers have the opportunity to log suggestions through our helpdesk service at any time. 

Waste is a service area that will be subject to much change over the coming years in response to new regulations and legislation aimed at helping us respond to climate change.  

However requirements change, we will be there to support our local authority clients along the journey.

If you’d like a conversation about transforming online access to residential waste services with scalable open source software, get in touch.

Image: Abel Matthew via Pexels

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