An attempt to postpone a review of trade waste services, described as ‘kicking the issue into the long grass’, was blocked by a council committee on Monday.
Speaking for Andrew Baldwin, Horsham District Council cabinet member for the environment, Duncan England (Con, Nuthurst) asked the Scrutiny and Overview Committee if the review could be postponed because the relevant member of staff was on long-term sick leave.
However members felt since expanding the service could become a significant revenue generator for the council, it was imperative the review started sooner rather than later.
Brian O’Connell (Con, Henfield) thought that this seemed to suggest that there was a ‘single point of failure’ in the management structure of the department.
Mr O’Connell said: “What it comes down to is one key individual can be off sick and the process stops and the department can’t seem to function or continue.
“It was an issue in planning and it’s obviously an issue here.
“It’s surprising to see the symptoms repeated in trade waste.”
George Cockman (Ind, Steyning), chairman of the committee, said: “While I respect what he [Mr Baldwin] is saying it does worry me.”
Leonard Crosbie (LDem, Trafalgar) added: “I can’t believe it’s beyond the wit of man to promote and market that service.
“It’s not rocket science to understand what we are offering.”
He added: “This is a pressing issue. We should be getting on with it.”
Brian Donnelly (Con, Pulborough and Coldwaltham) said: “The reality is the council has to go on, and has to generate revenue.
“We should probably say we need to start this review certainly this year and earlier rather than later.”
Philip Circus (Con, Chanctonbury), chairman of the council, said: “Scrutiny adds value. If not I do not know why we are sat here.”
He thought the committee must not allow the issue to be ‘kicked into the long grass’, and told members it was a great opportunity to have a positive impact on an environmental issue.
Mr Cockman added: “I think the view of this committee is that with respect to the deputy cabinet member [Mr England] before he goes to the gallows we agree that we must go forward with this review.”
David Sheldon (LDem, Denne) said that the committee had spare capacity for a short-term working group to review trade waste, while others suggested that temporary staff could be hired to help out in the department if extra manpower was needed.