The Council recognises that the people who know our business best and who have the greatest impact on what we do are our employees. Our staff suggestion scheme Bright Ideas! has now closed for 2017 and we would like to share the suggestions received with you:
Internal mail collection
Suggestion: Create an internal mail collection point for Cullen. Currently mail is dropped off at Buckie and then taken to Cullen however this is unreliable and it sometimes takes 3 weeks for mail to be received.
Outcome: The mail van delivery route has been amended to include a delivery/uplift to Cullen Primary school on a Thursday morning. A two month trial will be completed, after this trial if both parties are satisfied it will become a permanent change.
“Fit for Life” membership
Suggestion: Increase our “Fit for Life” membership by 10% to increase revenue.
Outcome: An increase to the 'Fit Life' membership has already been considered, with a proposal drafted outlining the different levels of increase along with an estimate of the increased revenue it would create. This suggestion has already been considered along with various other budget options looking at income and expenditure.
Wild flower meadows
Suggestion: Create wild flower meadows within parks to reduce on grass cutting costs and benefit the environment
Outcome: Whilst the wildflower concept is spot on in terms of environmental issues it does not create any financial savings. To turn a grassed area into a wildflower meadow would require substantial preparation; the cost of doing this is in the region of £1.50 per square metre in the first year. The grass cutting rate at the moment is £0.30 per square metre per year so it would attract a cost rather than a saving.
Long service awards
Suggestion: Achieve financial savings by not awarding Long Service Award certificates or vouchers.
Outcome: The cost of long service certificates & lunch vouchers and retirement long service gifts is under £15k per year, across a workforce of 4500 this is a relatively low cost.
To gauge the wider workforce views, this suggestion was set up as a poll on Interchange to hear from employees about their views - 58% agreed that the Long Service Awards should stay as they are. Therefore at this stage the awards will be retained as they currently are but may be reviewed at a later date.
Suggestion: Only put bins out for collection when they are full, or would be full before the next collection. Less bins being emptied each week will save money and time.
Outcome: This suggestion has been looked at previously; it would certainly make it less onerous for the crews but would not save any money. The reason that it wouldn’t save any money is that we have to resource each route on the basis that all householders may put bins out. The cost of the vehicle and crew remains the same whether 100% or not of bins are put out for servicing. We have gone through a number of route changes to optimise efficiency and this has resulted in the requirement for overtime being removed. We are also currently looking at alternative collection frequencies and the interplay this would have with recycling to better utilise all bins and generate financial savings through reduced landfill tax.
These are just a selection of some of the suggestions received – you can view the full list here. Bright Ideas has now become an established part of our Employee Engagement calendar so look out for it opening again Summer 2018!
In the meantime if you have any suggestions for service efficiencies or financial savings please make sure that you share them with your manager - Bright Ideas is supplementary to what should already be happening at service level.