Stronger Together: Meeting our waste management challenges as a community

All change: The need for business agility

Events move quickly. Governments come and go. (Some more quickly than others!) Policies get scrapped or modified. Societal trends may rapidly develop.

In the short to medium term, the UK’s local authorities (LAs) face a dizzying range of change drivers. Some directly affect waste management, where others are likely to have indirect impacts:

  • General Election 2024/5 – potential for central government policy changes
  • Budget gaps and Section 114 notices – likely to mean cuts to services for many
  • EPR – the scheme that recoups waste management costs from manufacturers
  • DRS – the scheme for recycling drinks containers, initially in Scotland
  • Simpler Recycling – England-wide initiative to harmonise waste stream collections

Ultimately, in the face of such volatility, any plans or solutions need to be flexible, allowing each local authority to maintain a good degree of business agility.

The operating environment is characterised as uncertain. Traditionally, our existing commercial and legislative frameworks are rigid, hampering the ability to respond quickly to change.

Consider the example of an IT system in which costs spiral way beyond budget, takes years to build and implement, yet is unfit for purpose when delivered because the goal posts have moved since the project spec was written. Despite such scenarios being cautionary tales, every so often we find the story repeated, only with new characters.

Fatally flawed: Avoid making the same mistakes

Technology is the backbone of operations, and to avoid such fatal flaws solutions need to meet the need for business agility. There are a few baseline rules that help to set up the right direction of travel:

  • Cloud software, that runs on standard devices, and minimises the need for large scale investment in on-premise hardware and software.
  • Implement API-based integration to avoid data silos and allowing interoperability with other software applications.
  • Core technology that centralises data and which is the foundation for a range of ‘out of the box’ solutions, or those modified for specific purposes at relatively low cost.

Using this approach has enabled some LAs to make significant strides in creating efficiency for their existing services as well as laying the foundation for meeting foreseeable demands.

As a technology company specialising in waste management, Whitespace has been more than a provider of these solutions. Our vision and role is to be a catalyst in helping further the cause of better environmental management.

Whitespace Connect: Stronger together

After many years of operating in the public sector, we understand the realities that councils face. The municipal waste management sector is a community, and it is only through working together that we can tackle our challenges.

To this end, Whitespace Connect is our waste management community initiative. It aims to create customer user groups, build relationships and networks, and promote learning and understanding. Local authority waste management leaders, Whitespace’s applied waste management tech experts, and our delivery partners are brought together in a friendly and productive forum.

At a high level Whitespace Connect aims to:

  • Share customer success experiences – achievements, learnings and results, providing the inspiration for others to catch up with those who have forged ahead.
  • Be a melting pot for ideas – a crucible where ideas and concepts are floated, refined, cross fertilised, and peer-reviewed, with the aim of bringing the best to life.
  • Act as a think tank – improving waste management and promoting the larger ambitions of the circular economy and environmental protection.
  • Put technology and data front and centre – provide access to expert knowledge on systems with specific regard to waste management solutions.
  • Promote resident engagement – effecting behavioural change through the use of technology to communicate and educate service users.
  • Promote innovation – using innovation to deliver elegant technology solutions within the constraints of existing commercial and financial frameworks.

Save the Date: Whitespace Connect First National Forum, 6 June 2024

Following the success of previous Whitespace Connect events run on a regional basis, this year we have decided to enlarge the event by holding a single nationwide seminar in Birmingham.

The team are excitedly pulling the plans together for this now and we’ll be posting details on the blog and in social channels as we confirm guests and program items. In the meantime, to get a good flavour of what you can expect, please take a look at the review of last year’s event in The Midlands.

Whitespace partners with over 100 local authorities to help deliver efficient high quality environmental services. To find out more about Whitespace Municipal Waste Management solutions, please get in touch by calling us on +44 (0)1483 231 650 or emailing us at

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