If the only measure of success for a project is that it meets its principle objective then, as rather inaccurately reported in the Adver, the changes to waste and recycling collections in Swindon have been a success, with an almost 60% increase in recycling*. However, a project also needs to be measured by what other effects it has and any well-managed project will have a number of other, secondary, criteria for success. Complaint levels of ‘20 or 30 a day’ may be low compared with the reported number of collections, 860,000 per month, but without a comparison with the number of complaints before the changes, is no measure of success. And if Mr Harcourt believes that ‘Swindon is now a tidier town’ then he’s clearly not set foot on the streets of central Swindon.
*Unlike the Adver report, I do know how to do percentages: an increase in the recycling rate from 27.3% to 43.5% is an increase in the recycling rate of just over 16 percentage points, or an increase of almost 60 per cent.