Utility Accounts - Dustbins

The 1848 Public Health Act was the first time that the government decided that each household should have access to a rubbish receptacle which was emptied by state funded binmen. Dustbins were introduced by many councils. These rubbish bins were large metal containers and didn't change in shape or design for decades. The cost of purchasing one of these bins must have exceeded the means of many households and the City's Salvage Department proposed a system for the hire of dustbins with the rentals to be paid through branches of the Bank. The introduction of the scheme was detailed in the Minutes of the Bank's Management Committee:


Bank Committee: December 18th 1922


The following communication from the Finance Committee with reference to a scheme for the voluntary hire and renewal of dust bins was submitted:


The Acting Treasurer submitted a report prepared by the Superintendent of the Salvage Department with respect to a scheme for the voluntary hire and renewal of dustbins, together with observations thereon which he had prepared for the Committee's consideration:

"RESOLVED:- That a Sub-Committee be appointed consisting of Alderman Williams, Bower and Lancaster, to confer with representatives of the Salvage and Stables, the Bank and Water Committees with a view to working out a more simple scheme to give effect to the proposals of the Salvage and Stables Committee."


1281   RESOLVED:- That the Chairman, Alderman Lovsey and Councillor Gelling, together with the General Manager be appointed representatives of this Committee to confer with representatives of the other Committees affected on the above matter.


Bank Committee: January 15th 1923


On Minute No 1281, the General Manager reported that the Committee's representatives had conferred with representatives of the other Committees concerned on the proposed scheme for the voluntary hiring and renewal of dust bins, and the following arrangement had been agreed:






The Secretary has had under consideration the letter dated 23rd October, 1922 from the Superintendent of the Salvage Department and the report dated 11th October, 1922 presented by the Superintendent of the Salvage Committee on this subject, and begs to submit the following observations on the question of the collection by the Water Department of the hiring fees along with the water charges.


The system of the water rate collection lends itself to the collection of the hiring fees suggested in the scheme of the Salvage Department to the extent that the water ratepayer and the person joining the Salvage Department's scheme is one and the same person.


As a first principle, therefore, the payers of dust bin fees must be the same as the water ratepayers. In the cases where this condition does not apply, the preparation and issue of separate dust bin accounts would be necessary, and it would be more economical for the Salvage Department to undertake the collection.


The suggested scheme of collection of dust bin fees might be carried out on the following lines:


The Salvage Department would create the debit by informing the Water Department of the person with whom agreements had been entered into.


A dust bin fees' rental on the card index or loose leaf principle would be compiled from the above-mentioned information. Either of these systems would be more economical that introducing additional columns in the Water rental for the dust bin fees.


On the debit side of the rental the following information, which would be more or less of a permanent character, would appear:


1. No of Water Department assessment.

2. Name and address of payer.

3. Description of property furnished with dust bins.

4. Number of dust bins.

5. Annual payment.


On the credit side, columns would be provided for:

? necessary   ? Date account despatched.

1. Date of payment.

2. Amount.

This side of the rental would be made to last for a number of years.


From the point of view of economy in administration dust bin accounts should be rendered annually and should cover one year's hiring fee from 1st April - accounts for part of a year should be collected by the Salvage Department. If a water rate is paid but not the dust bin fee, the Salvage Department should collect the latter fee.


To meet the convenience of the Water Department administration, the accounts for dust bin fees should be despatched with the water accounts for the half-year ending Lady Day.


The preparation of the accounts could thus be commenced immediately after the previous Michaelmas.


It would be advisable to have an account for dust bins only instead of increasing the size of the water account to provide for the dust bin account as well. The dust bin account should be about 3" square with a gumming margin of " and would be attached to the water account. Separate receipts would not be given but a combined receipt in the space provided on the water account.


This method would allow for the preparation of the dust bin accounts over a longer period and would avoid an increase of the pressure which is inevitable towards the end of the half-year when the final examination of the water accounts is undertaken.


Moreover, it would avoid handling the same account for two separate operations, with the consequential risk of omissions and other mistakes and frequent examination, besides delay which could be avoided by the method suggested.


It would also eliminate the introduction of temporary staff for the preparation of the dust bin accounts as the work could be carried out during six months of the year whereas if the provision for the dust bin fee had to be made on the water accounts, the work would have to be done in about a month.


It is estimated that the services of one competent clerk would be adequate to deal with about 25,000 dust bin accounts.


In addition to the clerical work above described, it will be necessary for the counter cashiers and record clerks to make additional entries on their record sheets and cash books in respect of the dust bin accounts and additional work will be placed on the Chief Cashier in dealing with the totals of the amounts received and banked.


The Water Department will pay over to the Salvage Department, the amount received in respect of dust bin fees in bulk.


In the month of October, the Water Department will inform the Salvage Department of the total amount collected, and balance the total debit by forwarding a list of the persons who have not paid, leaving the Salvage Department to deal with the defaulters.


The scheme of the Water Department is somewhat complicated by reason of the fact that the Municipal Bank act as agents for the collection of water charges at their various branches.


The Manager of the Bank sees no objection to the collection at the branches of the Bank of the dust bin accounts provided the Bank are only made responsible for the receipt of the total of the water rate and dust bin fee, leaving it to the Water Department to dissect the amounts received as between water rate and dust bin fee.


Questions arising on dust bin accounts will of course be referred by the Water Department, as well as the Municipal Bank to the Salvage Department for settlement.


As to the charge which the Water Department should make for the services rendered, it is suggested that:

1. The Salvage Department should bear the cost of desks or tables for accommodating the staff detailed to this work and of stationery.

2. A payment of 3d per dust bin should be made with a minimum of 300 per annum, the scale of payment to be reviewed at the end of two years.


It is not known whether the Municipal Bank will ask for an increased payment for any additional services which they might claim they are rendering. In the event of their doing so, the suggested fee for collection must be increased.


29th December, 1922.


1308   RESOLVED:- That the action taken in agreeing the foregoing arrangement so far as the Bank is concerned be confirmed.


Bank Committee: February 19th 1923


1352   The following report of the Finance Sub-Committee was presented:


Scheme for the Hire and Renewal of Dust Bins.


Your Sub-Committee have had under consideration the question of what charge should be made in regard to the collection (with the Water accounts) of payments for hire and renewal of dust bins.


They are of opinion that the introduction of the system so far as it affects the Bank will not involve additional work to an appreciable extent, and they accordingly recommend that a nominal charge of 25 guineas per annum be made to the Water Department in respect of the services rendered by the Bank in the matter.


1353  RESOLVED:- That a charge be made to the Water Department of 25 guineas per annum in respect of administration charges of the Bank in connection with the collection of payments for hire and renewal of dust bins.


Bank Committee: February 18th 1924


1671  The following report of the Finance Sub-Committee was presented:


Facilities for payment of Dustbin Accounts.


Your Sub-Committee are informed by the General Manager that in connection with the above Scheme, which comes into operation on the 1st April next, under which the Bank would afford facilities for dustbin accounts to be paid in conjunction with the water accounts, they now find that additional clerical work is required to be done by the Bank staff, which was not originally contemplated when  scheme was placed before them. Your Sub-Committee therefore consider that the original amount to be paid for services rendered by the Bank staff should be increased from 25 guineas to 50 for the first year and that the arrangement to be reviewed at the end of the year when practical experience of the work will have been afforded.


1673   RESOLVED:- That Minute No 1353 be rescinded, and that the charge to be made to the Water Department in respect of the administrative expenses of the Bank in connection with the collection of payments for the hire and renewal of dustbins be 50 for the first year, the arrangement to be reviewed at the end of this period.


Bank Committee: June 15th 1925


2112   The following report of the Finance Sub-Committee was presented:


Collection of Dustbin Accounts


Your Sub-Committee report that during the year ended 31st March 1925 the system of the collection of dust bin accounts has resulted in 96 accounts being collected, the amount involved being 16. 14. 0. In view of the fact that this collection is arranged through the Water Department and that the latter department is committed to the scheme your Sub-Committee recommend that the arrangement be continued on the present terms, viz: 50 per annum.


2113   RESOLVED:- That the arrangements made for the collection of dust bin accounts be continued on the present terms.


Bank Committee: November 14th 1927


The following communication was received from the Salvage and Stables Committee with reference to the scheme for the hire and renewal of dustbins:


Dustbin Hire Scheme - Collection of Accounts.


5056 - RESOLVED:- That the existing arrangements made with the Water Department for the collection of accounts under the Dustbin Hire Scheme be discontinued as 31st March 1928, such collections in future to be carried out by the Salvage Department in conjunction with the Birmingham Municipal Bank the latter being paid the sum of 15/- for each one-hundred accounts collected, plus the cost of the necessary books and stationery.


2845   RESOLVED:- That the matter be referred to the General Purposes Sub-Committee for consideration and report.


Bank Committee: December 19th 1927


2881  The following report of the General Purposes Sub-Committee was presented:


Dust Bin Hire Scheme.


Your Sub-Committee have considered the representations made by the Salvage & Stables Committee that the existing arrangement for issue and collection of dust-bin accounts through the medium of the Water Department and the Bank shall be discontinued at 31st March 1928, and that an arrangement be entered into whereby the Salvage Department should issue the accounts and the Bank accept payment of same at Bank counters.


The Water Committee having agreed to the suggestions, your Sub-Committee see no objection to these accounts being accepted at Bank counters on the same terms and conditions as apply to Gas, Water and Electricity accounts, namely, a payment of 15/- per 100 accounts dealt with, and the provision by the Salvage Department of all necessary receipt stamps, books, forms &c and they therefore recommend accordingly.


2882   RESOLVED:- That, as at 31st March 1928, the existing arrangements for collection of Dust Bin Accounts be discontinued and the Scheme adopted, as from that date, for the collection of the Accounts on the basis of a payment by the Salvage Department of 15/- per 100 accounts dealt with, the Salvage Department to provide all necessary books, receipt stamps, stationery, etc.


The scheme for the collection of Dustbin Accounts existed from April 1924 to March 1950.


85,829 accounts (totalling 15,699) were dealt with during this period:

Utility Accounts

Year Ended

March 31st

Number of




. s. d.



16. 14. 0.



30. 2. 10.



53. 5. 7.



97. 3. 1.



227. 14. 1.



252. 3. 11



303. 9. 7.



327. 1. 3.



352. 4. 8.



410. 17. 0.



464. 12. 4.



474. 17. 3.



519. 18. 5.



579. 12. 9.



650. 1. 1.



752. 5. 1.






980. 10. 4.



1,079. 6. 10.



1,095. 12. 7.



1,034. 7. 4.



1,011. 18. 3.



936. 12. 4.



1,327. 10. 11.



1,369. 8. 4.



1,351. 7. 11.