400 complaints but Basildon Council says grass cutting service is "improving"

Echo: 400 complaints but Basildon Council says grass cutting service is "improving" 400 complaints but Basildon Council says grass cutting service is "improving"

A GRASS cutting firm, drafted in for £1.2million, received more than 400 complaints last year and has never hit annual targets in four years of working in Basildon.

However, Basildon Council leisure bosses say they are happy with Coventry-based English Landscapes, called in in 2010 when the Tory administration outsourced the service.

The firm has never hit its yearly targets, set by council officials. While complaints were down from 676 in 2012, there were still 421 residents with issues in 2013.

Despite the firm receiving criticism from opposition councillors and residents, the Tory council recently awarded it a new contract until 2016.

Tory councillor Kevin Blake, responsible for leisure and arts, said: “Bad weather hampered English Landscapes in reaching its targets, yet it has managed to improve every year since the beginning of the contract.”

Officers grade jobs carried out by the firm as A, B, C, or D, depending on the standard of the grass cut.

They inspect 20 cuts a day and demand 90 per cent are either A or B.

Out of 28 months, the firmhas only hit the monthly target eight times.

Nigel Smith, leader of the Labour opposition, said: “It’s the equivalent of employing a tradesman who consistently lets you down. It is extraordinary the firmhas been given a new contract with the amount of complaints I get from residents.”

The firm was hauled in by leisure bosses last year over under-performance, but standards have improved since then.

In 2010, the council handed English Landscapes a £1.2million deal until 2015. The council argued that outsourcing grass cutting had saved it £340,000 a year, with £1.4million saved over five years.

A spokesman for English Landscapes said: “The figures have no correlation with the quality of the service we offer, which we believe to be excellent value for money. We have no desire to participate in an ideological debate between political parties in Basildon.”

Councillors will debate the firm’s performance at a meeting next Wednesday.

Comments (10)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:21pm Mon 3 Mar 14

canveydude24 says...

Quote "Tory councillor Kevin Blake, responsible for leisure and arts, said: “Bad weather hampered English Landscapes in reaching its targets" , what sort of p!ss p00r excuse is that, we have bad weather every year and other services keep to their targets. Another Contractor taking the money and the mickey out of the Council.
Quote "Tory councillor Kevin Blake, responsible for leisure and arts, said: “Bad weather hampered English Landscapes in reaching its targets" , what sort of p!ss p00r excuse is that, we have bad weather every year and other services keep to their targets. Another Contractor taking the money and the mickey out of the Council. canveydude24
  • Score: 6

12:30pm Tue 4 Mar 14

Happy Chickie says...

2.1 million to cut grass? Couldn't the council buy 20 lawnmowers and get some of the unemployed out there on minimum wage mowing the grass?

How skilled does one have to be to cut grass?

Or get a load of goats.
2.1 million to cut grass? Couldn't the council buy 20 lawnmowers and get some of the unemployed out there on minimum wage mowing the grass? How skilled does one have to be to cut grass? Or get a load of goats. Happy Chickie
  • Score: 11

12:33pm Tue 4 Mar 14

Nebs says...

Happy Chickie wrote:
2.1 million to cut grass? Couldn't the council buy 20 lawnmowers and get some of the unemployed out there on minimum wage mowing the grass?

How skilled does one have to be to cut grass?

Or get a load of goats.
Elf n safety.
[quote][p][bold]Happy Chickie[/bold] wrote: 2.1 million to cut grass? Couldn't the council buy 20 lawnmowers and get some of the unemployed out there on minimum wage mowing the grass? How skilled does one have to be to cut grass? Or get a load of goats.[/p][/quote]Elf n safety. Nebs
  • Score: -1

12:36pm Tue 4 Mar 14

Happy Chickie says...

Nebs wrote:
Happy Chickie wrote:
2.1 million to cut grass? Couldn't the council buy 20 lawnmowers and get some of the unemployed out there on minimum wage mowing the grass?

How skilled does one have to be to cut grass?

Or get a load of goats.
Elf n safety.
Get goats then.
[quote][p][bold]Nebs[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Happy Chickie[/bold] wrote: 2.1 million to cut grass? Couldn't the council buy 20 lawnmowers and get some of the unemployed out there on minimum wage mowing the grass? How skilled does one have to be to cut grass? Or get a load of goats.[/p][/quote]Elf n safety.[/p][/quote]Get goats then. Happy Chickie
  • Score: 2

12:50pm Tue 4 Mar 14

Howard Cháse says...

This grass cutting firm sound about as efficient and effective as Pinnacle PSG.
This grass cutting firm sound about as efficient and effective as Pinnacle PSG. Howard Cháse
  • Score: 4

1:42pm Tue 4 Mar 14

rayleigh123 says...

Out sourcing as always intrigued me, the council had 4 men with lawn mowers, they out-source it to a third party company (who must make profit for their share holders) who supply 4 men with mowers. The council then say they have saved 340k. !!!!! Logic would dictate that either the original council guys were lazy s@ds with poor supervision or the new company is doing a lesser job..

.
.
Out sourcing as always intrigued me, the council had 4 men with lawn mowers, they out-source it to a third party company (who must make profit for their share holders) who supply 4 men with mowers. The council then say they have saved 340k. !!!!! Logic would dictate that either the original council guys were lazy s@ds with poor supervision or the new company is doing a lesser job.. . . rayleigh123
  • Score: 6

3:45pm Tue 4 Mar 14

Kim Gandy says...

....and Labour would do it so much better wouldn't they Nigel Smith?

I don't rate any political party but Labour's track record isn't exactly fantastic. Look at parts of the country where Labour is in control, the further you go into London, the worse it gets.

God, they made a big enough mess of the country when they were in charge. I wouldn't put them in control of a public toilet let alone any kind of housekeeping scheme.

Get the area's yobs out on rehabilitation schemes, give them a lawnmower and let them get on with it.
....and Labour would do it so much better wouldn't they Nigel Smith? I don't rate any political party but Labour's track record isn't exactly fantastic. Look at parts of the country where Labour is in control, the further you go into London, the worse it gets. God, they made a big enough mess of the country when they were in charge. I wouldn't put them in control of a public toilet let alone any kind of housekeeping scheme. Get the area's yobs out on rehabilitation schemes, give them a lawnmower and let them get on with it. Kim Gandy
  • Score: -4

7:29pm Tue 4 Mar 14

ThisYear says...

Nebs wrote:
Happy Chickie wrote:
2.1 million to cut grass? Couldn't the council buy 20 lawnmowers and get some of the unemployed out there on minimum wage mowing the grass?

How skilled does one have to be to cut grass?

Or get a load of goats.
Elf n safety.
What does than mean?
[quote][p][bold]Nebs[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Happy Chickie[/bold] wrote: 2.1 million to cut grass? Couldn't the council buy 20 lawnmowers and get some of the unemployed out there on minimum wage mowing the grass? How skilled does one have to be to cut grass? Or get a load of goats.[/p][/quote]Elf n safety.[/p][/quote]What does than mean? ThisYear
  • Score: 0

10:42pm Tue 4 Mar 14

davidburton-sampson says...

Underperforming? No doubt the council will renew their contract next year as they have so often done with other outsourced companies. The logical thing to do of course!
Underperforming? No doubt the council will renew their contract next year as they have so often done with other outsourced companies. The logical thing to do of course! davidburton-sampson
  • Score: 0

11:31am Wed 5 Mar 14

Howard Cháse says...

davidburton-sampson wrote:
Underperforming? No doubt the council will renew their contract next year as they have so often done with other outsourced companies. The logical thing to do of course!
Mates rates
[quote][p][bold]davidburton-sampson[/bold] wrote: Underperforming? No doubt the council will renew their contract next year as they have so often done with other outsourced companies. The logical thing to do of course![/p][/quote]Mates rates Howard Cháse
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree