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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 25 February 2013

 

Report of the Leader

 

Space Project

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To provide Cabinet with an update on the progress of the Council's Space Project, which aims to maximise use of our property resources, as set out in Objective 7 of the Council’s Improvement Objectives 2012/13.

2.         To ask that Cabinet declare the land and buildings at Haydock House, 1 Holton Road, Barry surplus to requirements.

3.         To seek approval for the disposal of the land and buildings at Haydock House, 1 Holton Road, Barry.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet note the contents of the report.

2.         That the land and buildings known as Haydock House, 1 Holton Road, Barry be declared surplus to the Council's requirements.

3.         That the Director of Resources be authorised to negotiate terms and conditions for the disposal of the land and buildings at the appropriate time, in consultation with the Head of Legal Services and the Leader.

4.         That the Director of Resources be given delegated authority, in consultation with the Leader, to demolish Haydock House if required to facilitate disposal and/or prevent vandalism.

5.         That the Head of Legal Services be authorised to prepare, complete and execute the required legal documentation.

6.         That Cabinet agree the relocation of Children & Young People Services from Haydock House to the Docks Office.

7.         That Cabinet agree in principle that the Space Project team should investigate plans for vacation and disposal of the lease held in respect of Provincial House as part of a second phase to the project, with a report on this subject to be prepared and brought to Cabinet in 2013.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure that Cabinet are kept informed of progress of the Space Project.

2.         To ensure that the land and buildings at Haydock House have been declared surplus to the Council's requirements before disposal.

3.         To ensure that the Director of Resources obtains best value for the land and buildings and that the Council's statutory and fiduciary obligations are fulfilled.

4.         To ensure the best value can be obtained from the sale of Haydock House and/or that opportunities for vandalism are minimised.

5.         To formalise legally the disposal of the land and buildings.

6.         To vacate Haydock House, making financial savings possible through disposal of the building.

7.         To allow the Council to make the best use of its corporate office accommodation, generate financial savings and meet the other objectives of the Space Project.

Background

8.         A report was submitted to Cabinet in July 2012 which sought authorisation for the relocation of Housing Services from the Civic Offices to the Alps Depot. This relocation would be the first step, as part of the Council's Space Project, in enabling the Authority to dispose of surplus office accommodation, in particular Haydock House.

9.         Cabinet resolved that Housing Services should relocate to the Alps Depot (minute C1796). In December 2012, Housing Services (with the exception of a residual group of specialist customer facing staff) relocated to the Alps Depot.

10.      A further relocation as part of the Space Project took place in 2012.  The Catering Service relocated from offices at the Alps Depot to Provincial House, co-locating with the rest of the Strategic Planning & Performance Service.

11.      These moves created additional vacant space within the Council's corporate office accommodation, making disposal of surplus buildings possible.

12.      The first building which could be disposed of as surplus to requirements is Haydock House, the Council's smallest corporate office building and the only building in poor repair.

13.      94 Children & Young People Services staff are currently based in Haydock House and would require relocating to another corporate office building.

14.      Disposal of Haydock House would generate estimated revenue savings of £90,000 per annum, based on the running costs of the building. In addition, a capital receipt would be generated if the building was sold.

Relevant Issues and Options

Relocation of Children & Young People Services

15.      As a customer-facing department, a key consideration for the relocation of Children & Young People Services is access to reception facilities. Due to the specific services provided, such reception facilities would need to include a service specific reception desk, confidential interview rooms and a duty room in a ground floor location, close to an entrance/exit.

16.      With Civic Offices not able to meet the requirement for a separate reception desk for Children & Young People Services, two alternative relocation options for the service were considered, these being the Docks Office and Provincial House. Proposed reception facility designs were drafted and presented to service managers. At this stage, Provincial House was discounted as a relocation option since not all reception requirements could be met in the space available.

17.      With the Docks Office able to accommodate all reception requirements, this            building is proposed as being the most suitable location for Children & Young   People Services.

18.      Creation of a purpose-built, dedicated reception facility would require interior alterations within the Docks Office. As this is a listed building, an application would need to be made to CADW to request authorisation for the proposed works. The authorisation process is likely to take a number of months; therefore this would be started at the earliest possible stage.

19.      To provide adequate office space for Children & Young People Services would require the consolidation of existing space by current Docks Office occupants - Development Services, Social Services and HR Corporate Training. Smarter working, including an element of hot-desking would be required, plus the review and reduction of file storage.

20.      A considerable number of lower ground floor rooms are utilised for file storage at present. The opportunity needs to be taken to consolidate storage and consider opportunities for increased electronic storage of files and documents, thereby reducing space requirements. Conversion works would be required to existing storage rooms so that they may be utilised as office accommodation. This would then create adequate space for Children & Young People Services to relocate to the Docks Office and vacate Haydock House.

21.      A "desk occupancy study" was carried out at Haydock House over a two week period in September 2012 to identify the potential for smarter working within Children & Young People Services. Based on the evidence collected from this study, an average desk to staff ratio of 7:10 is proposed for the service area.

22.      A similar study began at the Docks Office in February 2013 to identify the potential for smarter working by existing occupants of the building. Results of both studies will be used to inform the space consolidation plans.

23.      For smarter working to work successfully at the Docks Office, adequate meeting space would be required. Space currently allocated to HR corporate training could be vacated and re-designated as corporate meeting space, and managed by the soon to be implemented corporate resource booking system. Corporate training staff and facilities would be relocated to space in the Civic Offices.

ICT

24.      A review of the ICT equipment currently owned would be undertaken to ascertain what additional equipment may be required. Co-ordination with the ICT refresh strategy has been initiated and will continue to assist with the provision of appropriate equipment.

25.      To meet the demands of smarter working and support additional numbers of staff in the Civic and Docks Offices, consideration may need to be given to the capacity of the wireless infrastructure.

Furniture

26.      Wherever current furniture is fit for purpose, this would be utilised. However, investment would be required where furniture is not suited to smarter working and exceeds the space available.

27.      The Space Project team will be designing a standardised work station to suit smarter working and incorporating health and safety requirements.

Storage

28.      An initial review of storage held in corporate office buildings was undertaken as part of occupancy studies. This identified a significant amount of storage held within offices and throughout each building.

29.      Storage would need to be reduced prior to moves, to make the best use of space including archiving old files to the Records Management Unit (RMU). It has recently been noted that the RMU is at near capacity so will require review of items already held there.  To this end, meetings have recently taken place with the Glamorgan Archives to investigate the potential for storage of some of the records currently held in the RMU.

30.      Utilisation of the Council's electronic records management system (TRIM) would be required to reduce the amount of paper records held, wherever possible.

31.      There is the potential to scan paper documents into electronic format using the corporate multi-functional devices, which would reduce the amount of paper stored. Consideration would need to be given as to the staff time required to do this or alternative methods of bulk scanning.

Costs

32.      The cost of building works required to the Dock Office to accommodate Children and Young People Services, including specialist reception facilities and the conversion of current storage space to usable offices is estimated at £260,000. This estimate includes £100,000 provision for the demolition of Haydock House which may not be required.

33.      The cost of removals associated with the move of Children and Young People Services to the Dock Office and relocation of Development Services and Corporate Training staff is estimated at £25,898.

34.      Where existing furniture can be utilised it will be wherever possible. However, to accommodate the requirement for hot-desking and maximising the number of staff accommodated per square metre at the Dock Office, an estimate of £68,000 is included in the project budget.

Financial Benefits

35.      Annual savings would be generated through reduced running costs, as a result of vacating Haydock House. Savings are shown in the table below and include the capital receipt for Haydock House, internally estimated at £100,000. Should the capital receipt not be forthcoming, the payback period would increase to 3.9 years.

Financial Benefits

 

Costs (net of capital receipt)

£253,898

Annual Savings

£90,000

Payback Period

2.8 years

Other Benefits

36.      A number of non-financial benefits would also be realised which meet the other objectives of the Space Project.

37.      Co-location of Services/Directorate - Children & Young People Services would be co-located with existing Social Services teams at the Docks.

38.      Fit for Purpose Offices - through the disposal of Haydock House, a building in poor condition and refurbishment at the Docks Office as part of space consolidation.

39.      Reduced carbon emissions - energy savings of 67 carbon emission tonnes per annum, equating to a 3% reduction in corporate building carbon emissions.

Phase Two

40.      The main aim of phase two of the project would be to dispose of a second corporate office building as surplus to requirements. 

41.      It is proposed that plans for vacation and disposal of the lease held in respect of Provincial House be investigated. This work would include consideration of alternative locations/delivery methods for the Open Learning Centre and Occupational Health Suite currently accommodated in Provincial House.

42.      Consolidation of Alps Depot office accommodation would also be carried out in phase two.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

43.      The estimated costs of the proposal are £253,898 net of a capital receipt and demolition costs for Haydock House. These costs can be met from the Building Fund.

44.      The disposal of Haydock House would generate revenue savings of approximately £90,000 per annum, based on the running costs of the building.

45.      The project would be delivered with existing internal staff resources and managed by Property Services in conjunction with Housing Services.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

46.      The proposal contributes towards the Space Project's objectives, one of which is to reduce carbon emissions.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

47.      The Council has a statutory and fiduciary duty to obtain best consideration upon disposal of its land and property assets pursuant to the provisions of Section 123 of the Local Government Act, 1972.

Crime and Disorder Implications

48.      The disposal of the building by sale or demolition would remove any opportunity to cause damage or vandalism.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

49.      There are no specific Equal Opportunities implications associated with this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

50.      The project aligns with the following corporate objectives:

CI033 - To make best use of our assets and to procure good, sustainable services and facilities.

CI034 - To deliver OneVale, the Council's transformational change programme and to put ICT to its most effective use in order to support service delivery.

51.      The project will assist with corporate improvement objective 7 for 2012/13, that being to maximise use of our property resources.

Policy Framework and Budget

52.      This report is a matter for executive decision by the Council's Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

53.      There are no implications for Ward Members as a result of this report.

54.      Trade Unions have been consulted on these proposals.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

55.      Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Space Project Cabinet Report, dated 30 July 2012

Smarter Working Policy

 

Contact Officer

Jane Wade, Operational Manager – Property Services

 

Officers Consulted

CMT

Director Development Services

Head of Children and Young People Services

Head of Public Protection

Head of Human Resources

Head of Strategic ICT

Operational Manager - Property Services

 

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies, Managing Director

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