Kathy Nixon – Strategic Director
Members to receive a report on the All Together Program
78.1 The Chair and Members of the Committee began by congratulation the Chief Executive and the Council staff by achieving the ‘Council of the Year’ and ‘Working Together’ silver awards.
78.2 The Chief Executive introduced report BOS/17/37 and explained that the over 10 years the approximately saving would be £5.8 million split between Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council.
78.3 There now existed seven Touchdown Points and two Depots (Creeting Road and Great Wenham) three Public access points in Stowmarket, Sudbury and Hadleigh. The Stowmarket office also housed the call centre. It was possible for officers to book desks at the Touchdown Points and at the Customer Access Points.
78.4 Members asked for clarification on the increase in the Recurring Costs (page 37, point 4.3.1) and the difference between £268,000 in 2017/18 and £680,000 in the 2020/21. Officers explained that for the first couple of years an upfront discount deal had been negotiated with Suffolk County Council (SSC), which terminated in 2020/21, which accounted for the increase in the recurring costs. In 2021/22 the contractual Disturbance Allowance for the Councils’ staff would come to an end and this explained the zero entries for mileage disturbance and car parking permits.
78.5 Stowmarket had manged to negotiate a better deal for the rent and service charge for the Customer Access Point with Stowmarket Town Council, but this was partly because the Customer Access Point in Sudbury was different set-up than Stowmarket.
78.6 The Committee gave thanks to Members and Staff for producing the report.
78.7 The Chief Executive explained in response to Members’ questions that there were a Touchdown point in Hadleigh and that negotiations with Hadleigh Town Council were taking place to broaden ‘front of house’ service they already provided to include access for the public to use computers with limited staff to support them. The Assistant Director – Customer Services were looking at other opportunities for Customer access such as libraries.
78.8 Members were concerned about the capital cost for the remodelling of the two headquarters sites (page 36, point 2.1), which in total was just over £6 million for the two sites. This was the estimated cost if the Councils had remained at their respective headquarters, including any work for updating the existing buildings and ICT to enable the Council to run effectively. This cost was the original cost proposed in the 2016 Business Plan proposal for the move to Endeavour House,
78.9 Members wanted to know what was included in the above estimate, as they felt the saving of £290,000 per year was not significate. However, if the HQ required a huge capital expenditure for substantial repair work and remodelling over the next 10 years than the above annual saving of £290,000 made better sense. The Chief Executive responded that that this was a historical discussion which made place in 2016.
78.10 Travel cost included both the Disturbance Travel costs and the cost incourred by staff for work. Agile work had actually reduced the estimated Distrubance costs as staff used the
78.11 Question were raised about bullet point 4.3.3 (page 38) and officers clarified that there were two different elements in this estimate, the capital savings and then revenue year on year savings. On page 36 the total running cost of £1.084 million less the depreciation of £366,000 (page 37, at the top) produced at new running cost of £718,000.
78.12 Some Members felt that the estimated capital cost for running and maintaining the old HQ was deceptive as repair work would have been undertaken regular had the Council remained there and therefore reduced the cost for ‘Catch-up’ repairs (point 2.1 page 26)
78.13 It was clarified that the annual cost of security for the old HQ sites were £114,000 for each site, but that this cost was recorded in the budget for the redevelopment of the old HQ sites.
78.14 The entry for the Genesys licence (page 41) was for the single telephone line number which was introduced to replace the old access telephone numbers.
78.15 The cost of remodelling the Customers Access point had been higher then the cost of remodelling the space in Endeavour House, because the Access Points need much more physical renovation and installation then was required in Endeavour House.
78.16 The rent in Endeavour House did not include cost for car parking spaces, as this was a self-financing service, which were paid for by parking fees. The rent service charge allowed the used of the carparking facilities. Profits from the carparking scheme was ringfenced to finance the Green Travel Scheme.
78.17 Members questioned the room facilities in Endeavour House and it was clarified that the Service deal included access to meeting rooms, which could be booked via a centralised service system. There was no charge for the use of the meeting rooms, but a cost would be incurred if the booked room was not used. There was also a charge for keeping the building open longer in the evenings for meetings.
78.18 Report BOS/17/37 were going to be part of a report to Cabinet on the Cost of the move to Endeavour House and would be presented by the Cabinet Member for Finance and Organisation Delivery.
78.19 Members agreed that further information were required and that the Capital expenditure costs in section 2, Page 36 needed further detail and should be reported back to the committee as in Information Bulletin in May.
By 7 to 1 vote (note Councillor Hurren abstained)
It was RESOLVED: -
1.1 That Report BOS/17/37 be circulated to Cabinet and all Members.
1.2 That a breakdown of the Capital Expenditure cost in Table 2.1 in report Bos/17/37 be reported to the Babergh Overview and Scrutiny Committee as an Information Bulleting in May 2018.