Any plans to implement a recycling centre booking system in Caerphilly County Borough will not be first considered by the full council.
A motion was tabled to council by Cllr Kevin Etheridge asking for the full council to discuss a report on any plans to implement a booking system across the borough.
Under the current constitution, such decisions are made by the cabinet or relevant cabinet member but will go through the scrutiny process.
What is Caerphilly County Borough Council’s cabinet?
A council’s cabinet is made up of councillors in charge of different policy areas – such as education, environment, local economy, etc – and a leader.
It is separate to the council’s corporate management structure, which is headed up by its chief executive and various directors. Cabinet is made up of councillors, who are elected and have the ultimate say.
Typically, cabinet members are councillors from the party with the most elected council members.
Caerphilly County Borough Council’s cabinet is made up of:
- Cllr Philippa Marsden (Ynysddu) – Leader
- Cllr Sean Morgan (Nelson) – Deputy leader / Economy, Enterprise and Infrastructure
- Cllr Colin Gordon (Pontllanfraith) – Corporate services
- Cllr Eluned Stenner (New Tredegar) – Customer, Performance and Property Services
- Cllr Ross Whiting (Risca West) – Learning and Leisure
- Cllr Shayne Cook (Morgan Jones) – Social Care
- Cllr Lisa Phipps (Bedwas, Trethomas, Machen) – Housing
- Cllr Nigel George (Risca East) – Waste, Public Protection and Street Scene
- Cllr Andrew Whitcombe (Abercarn) – Sustainability, Planning and Fleet
Corporate management is made up of unelected employees of the council and has responsibility for day-to-day management of services, such as making sure the bins are collected. Corporate directors work with cabinet members to come up with policy which is then agreed upon by the cabinet.
However, the scrutiny process does not offer all councillors a chance to have a say on the proposals – just those that are members of the relevant scrutiny committees.
Speaking on the motion, Cllr Etheridge said he understood that the decision was for the cabinet to make, but he believed every councillor should have their say once a report has been produced.
The leader of the council, Cllr Philippa Marsden, said: “This decision is clearly in the remit of cabinet. Scrutiny is a key requisite. It will go through the normal scrutiny process.”
Cllr Marsden also described the motion as “a bit premature”.
The leader of the council’s Plaid Cymru group, Cllr Colin Mann said: “I saw this as a way of flagging up the importance as it does really affect every person in the borough.
“It’s potentially very costly if the authority doesn’t get it right.
“I’m not arguing against this going to scrutiny but going to council as well is a way of giving every member a chance of commenting on this.”
In December it was announced that the council failed to meet its statutory target of 64% for recycling.
The county borough council’s recycling rate dropped from 65% in 2019 to 62.5%in 2020.
It was the only council in Gwent to record a fall in its recycling rate, and one of four across Wales not to meet the national target.
At the time the council said it was down to a contract issue.
The failure to hit the target was one of the reasons why some councillors wanted a report on a proposed booking system to go to full council for scrutiny.
Earlier this year the council launched a consultation on a proposed booking system.
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It would allow residents to book an allocated timeslot online or over the phone, to help manage the flow of traffic.
Last May, when recycling centres reopened to the public following the first national lockdown, the other four Gwent councils operated a booking system – Caerphilly was the only one to not do this.
At the time, the Caerphilly Council website had a monitoring system, which showed how long the wait was for each centre.
At its peak, some recycling centres had a queue time of more than three hours.
There are six recycling centres across Caerphilly County Borough, all of which are now open to the public.
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