Residents complaining about missed rubbish collections were told that a new computer system should help bin crews and their managers to get on top of the problem.
The reassurance came from Cityclean boss Rachel Chasseaud who said that the council’s rubbish and recycling service had never had a computer system before, relying instead on notes, calls and messages.
Mrs Chasseaud was responding to complaints and questions at a Brighton and Hove City Council housing management panel meeting.
She said that a modernisation programme, including the new computer system, would help Cityclean to log missed collections and track issues faced by bin lorry crews.
Tenant and leaseholder reps at the east area panel – covering Craven Vale, Whitehawk and Woodingdean – were told that the new computer system should be in place within 18 months to two years.
Mrs Chasseaud said: “Cityclean has never had any kind of IT system. Everything is paper-based and done by word of mouth and what people know.
“This is part of the problem. It relies on having discussions with the right people to get information.
“Having a good IT system – and most of the staff are looking forward to this – means they can enter the details of a missed collection or a bin they can’t find in the cab and that will be fed back to the contact centre. Then we can give out that live information on the website.”
Mrs Chasseaud, who took over running Cityclean in 2018, said: “There have been some improvements but I have to acknowledge we have a long way to go.
“There is more to do than realised at the beginning after peeling back the layers.
“We’re taking the time to get things right rather than just using a sticking plaster approach. I’m really hoping people will start to see results.”
The coronavirus pandemic affected the service, she said, with up to 40 per cent of Cityclean staff self-isolating in the first and second waves.
Crews were short-staffed as a result and were not always able to complete their rounds.
People living at Robert Lodge, in Whitehawk Road, said that a “bad smell” came from full bins outside the Brighton Food Co-op which cooked hot meals for 200 local people every day.
Collections were repeatedly missed – and the problem had taken a while to resolve because a bin was in the wrong place, Mrs Chasseaud said, but regular collections had resumed.
At the north area panel, residents raised the repeated missed recycling collections from Dunster Close, in Hollingdean, over six weeks and were told that the problem was now resolved.
There were also long-running issues with flytipping in Southmount and Tavistock Down in Hollingdean.
At Tavistock Down, with just five bins for 100 residents, inconsistent collections had led to wildlife spreading rubbish everywhere. Reps asked for two collections a week.
Mrs Chasseaud said that the pandemic had affected the service and said: “Once we miss collections, it can take a very long time to catch up with that. That’s why it ends up at several weeks.
“I apologise. It is horrible when your collection is missed. We don’t want people living in a situation where they are dealing with piles of rubbish.”
Most of the issues had been dealt with, reps were told, but there was still some fly-tipped rubbish at Southmount, off Davey Drive.