I welcome the contrition shown by Dundee City Council Chief Executive and Executive Director of Neighbourhood Services with regard to the problems with bins over the summer but it has to be pointed out that the policy had been decided by councillors not by officers. Officers of the council have been trying to implement the policy voted through by SNP, Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors in the face of opposition to the proposals from Labour and the sole independent councillor Ian Borthwick.
When the decisions were made, in June 2016, which implemented the latest chaotic round of recycling changes the Labour Group put forward an amendment to ensure that there was 'meaningful consultation' with the people of Dundee. On Monday evening we heard that officers are now willing to listen to concerns from people. Surely, this is a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. I believe that if a meaningful consultation had been held prior to the implementation of the changes then some of the problems that have been experienced could have been avoided. Why was the council frightened to listen to the people of Dundee?
I was surprised to see officers accept the blame for decisions. Officers do not make policy for Dundee City Council. It was a welcome show of humility from senior officers but it would have been more appropriate for the political leadership to issue the apology, but as the Courier has pointed out 'sorry' does seem to be the hardest word to say.
I recognise that the Leader of the Council has said that he will fix the problem. Let's hope that he is true to his word. Perhaps the most disappointing thing about Monday night was that there is unanimity on the council in favour of promoting recycling. Dundee used to be known for its recycling - it was an early adopter of recycling under Labour leadership. The Labour Group wants Dundee to be at the forefront of recycling and we want to work with the Administration to achieve this but our past attempts to assist them have been ignored. We hope for better in the future.