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Rubbish Row Secrecy Criticised

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7:02am 10th December 2012

Pirate FM has been told we may never know the true extent of Cornwall's rubbish row.

The council got tens of thousands of calls about missed collections when a new system was brought in.

Back in April County Hall said the private contractor could face a fine.

But now officials are refusing to tells Pirate FM how much that is because it is still negotiating with the private company in charge of the collections, Cory.

It said the decision will be reviewed in April, a year after the problems, but could not promise that the figures would be released then either.

Robert Oxley from the Taxpayers Alliance said: "The service fell well short of what they would have expected. They have to hold those people making the decisions and those people providing the services to account. So I think taxpayers have an absolute right to this knowledge and it's disgraceful the council isn't publishing the information.

"If the council isn't being open and upfront about its spending on bins and whether it's getting the contracts right, how can taxpayers trust them to be open and transparent about other issues? It speaks volumes that the council isn't willing to disclose this information."

Cornwall Council said that nobody would be available for interview because Pirate FM is in the process of challenging the decision to withhold the information.

In a letter explaining its reasons for not releasing the information, despite telling the media in April that "further updates will be provided in the coming weeks", the Council said: "The data is still being reviewed, agreed and completed with Cory and therefore is not in a position to be released. The review includes a breakdown of the various contract elements such as garden, clinical, recycling and residual waste. The data will be reviewed in April and at that time consideration will be given as to whether this can be made publicly available.

"Although the Council receives a number of missed collection reports, this information needs to be verified as on subsequent investigation there are a number of missed collections that turn out to not be the fault of Cory, (e.g. the householder putting out their waste after the collection lorry had completed the round). By releasing inaccurate and incomplete data at this time would give a false picture of how the contract was performing and would prejudice the ongoing discussions concerning potential deductions and service levels."

In April the Council released part of the information requested, telling the media that "The latest figures show Cory have successfully completed over 1.3 million collections of refuse, recycling, garden waste and clinical waste over the last three weeks – this equates to 98.5% of the scheduled number of collections."

Some councillors have told Pirate FM they support the release of the information. Councillor Andrew Wallis said, "I'm finding it hard to even believe because Cory run the waste contract on behalf of the Cornish taxpayer. We pay them basically. I can't understand why the public shouldn't have that information."

Despite an extension the council missed a legal deadline to supply the information or explain its reasons for withholding it. Pirate FM was told this was because of sickness within the department responsible.

7:02am 10th December 2012

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