Sharp productivity gains for Council environmental services
“The Blue Arrow team have always met seasonal demands for this client. We approached the COVID crisis in much the same way and the partnership played a vital role in keeping the city’s refuse and collection services running.”
Ollie Tingley, Recruitment Consultant, Blue Arrow
Prior to the COVID outbreak, Cityclean processed up to 16 tonnes of waste a month. This figure subsequently tripled during lockdown, representing an increase in waste and recycling handled of 160 tonnes over a six-month period.
With an aging workforce and many of those with vulnerabilities having to adopt shielding measures, some 50% of the Cityclean staff went on extended leave when the COVID-19 lockdown was announced.The Council turned to Blue Arrow as a preferred supplier and first point of contact for Collections and Street temporary staff recruitment, for help with backfilling the staff shortfall to meet the unprecedented demands on waste collection services.
Drivers were particularly hard hit by the increased demand, leading to a ten-fold increase in temporary staff, from just 2 staff up to 20 drivers, covering diverse roles including HGV class 2 drivers and van drivers (for cage vehicles), plus temporary minibus drivers. Similarly, the demand for temporary loaders doubled, increasing the number of employees to 40.
A further challenge was the requirement for social distancing which meant candidates could not be interviewed on-site or have their right to work documentation validated face-to-face.
The constant need for backfilling shortlists and a high volume of applicants due to local unemployment during lockdown, called for rapid processing of applications to find candidates who best matched the skills need for the roles. On one occasion, for example, 245 applications were received for just 5 positions.
The SolutionGiven the restrictions on face-to-face contact and the need for fast time to hire, Blue Arrow’s e-recruitment platform was a critical element of the recruitment process. The system enabled the central Account Team to efficiently manage the end-to-end process from placing ads, through to candidate selection. Additional support came in the form of an extended 24/7 support team.
The client runs its own recruitment campaign targeting some 18,000 vacancies from September.
Blue Arrow supports this programme through the provision of recruitment staff to attend over 400 recruitment open-day events throughout the UK during the eight-week programme.
This activity is underpinned by a dedicated team of Blue Arrow compliance and vetting specialists who maintain high levels of governance around legal recruitment check standards. At the end of the national roadshow of recruitment events, there can be acute staffing needs that remain in geographical pockets around the country. This is where the national footprint of Blue Arrow’s branches of Recruitment Specialists is ready to supplement with local contingent staff as and when needed.
Blue Arrow continued to maintain its COVID-19 fulfilment levels throughout the increase in demand. This included doubling of the demand for operatives from 27 to 53 employees overnight, as lockdown came into effect at the end of March 2020. At peak demand in May 2020, the team were also meeting increased driver demand with the usual complement of 3 HGV drivers rising to 11 drivers and 7 minibus drivers. The demand for yard cleaners was also doubled.
After the shielding timescale came to an end, Cityclean brought in a phased return to work, including part-time hours for permanent staff, which Blue Arrow continued to supplement with its valuable, contingent workforce.
“Blue Arrow kept the service moving in difficult times during recent months with their reliable supply of contingent staff.”
Operations Manager, at the Council