North Northants Council bans 'non-inclusive' printed bin collection schedules

The council previously delivered leaflets to homes

Monday, 27th June 2022, 6:00 am
Mick, a semi-retired engineer, wanted a paper version to display at home and was quite happy to print one off as his current schedule runs out at the end of June.
Mick, a semi-retired engineer, wanted a paper version to display at home and was quite happy to print one off as his current schedule runs out at the end of June.

Householders wanting to know bin schedules for refuse collections will have to rely solely on going online as the creation of a downloadable print-at-home version has been deemed as not ‘inclusive’.

Last year’s paper versions previously distributed to customers have now expired and those wanting to display the collections calendar calendar will now be unable to so.

The problem has come to light after Rushden resident Mick Bridgstock contacted North Northants Council (NNC) to find where a printable version could be found.

The soon-to-expire calendar provided by NNC

He was told that the downloadable calendars ‘did not meet the legal requirements of The Equality Act 2010’ and had therefore been removed.

Mick, 69, said: “It takes a lot, but my exchange with North Northants Council has left me stuck for words.

"Where does it all end? Do they take down web pages because blind people cannot see them? Or links with sound because deaf people cannot hear them?”

Mick, a semi-retired engineer, wanted a paper version to display at home to keep track of the different collections and was quite happy to print one off as his current schedule runs out at the end of June.

Mick's previous bin schedule, printed off from the NNC's website, will expire at the end of June 2022

In his query to NNC he wrote: “Hello. I am trying to download (and print) a new bin collections schedule, as my current one expires at the end of this month. I was able to view next collection days on your web site, but could not see a complete calendar, nor any print facility.”

He was told by NNC: “At North Northamptonshire Council, we take our legal duties around disabled access responsibly. The downloadable calendars did not meet the legal requirements of The Equality Act 2010, therefore we had to remove them. Anything we put on our website should be accessible for all.

“From now on, we will be directing all customers to our electronic checker if they need to confirm their bin date. This system is more inclusive as everyone can use it and has the advantage that, if a bin collection day changes, it is updated straight away rather than allowing the potential for a customer to have contradicting information in print.

“If preferred, we can email you a PDF version of your collection schedule or we can post a printed paper version to you. Please let us know your preference.”

Mick's NNC bin schedule

But a day later he had a phone call from the council to say he had been wrongly advised.

He said: “I was told that that they do not have, and do not make, PDF/paper versions, so they couldn’t send me one. They claim no councils now produce PDF bin calendars.

"The onus is apparently now on us, the long-suffering taxpayers, to get the dates from their website and mark them on our own calendars.

"I think my brother’s response says it all – ‘so they need to shut down their website because the blind can’t read it, shutdown Spotify 'cos the deaf can’t hear the music, and no more cookery programmes because someone, somewhere ,will be offended by, or allergic to, one of the ingredients’.”

Dozens of councils across the UK publish downloadable schedules.

Mick has now been emailed an spreadsheet with his collection dates.

You can click here for NNC bin collections.

An NNC spokesman said: “The way information on our website is presented needs to comply with laws regarding how accessible it is.

“The calendars that were used previously did not comply with this national legislation. If someone was colour blind or needed to use an electronic screen-reader, they would not have been able to use the calendars in the format we provided.

“Now we direct all customers to our electronic checker if they need to confirm their bin date.

“This system complies with legislation and has the advantage that, if a bin collection day changes, it is updated straight away rather than allowing the potential for a customer to have contradicting information in print.”