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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting:  18 November, 2013

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety

 

Building Services - A Plan for Change

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To provide Cabinet with the details of Building Services’ Change Plan, prepared by the Head of Housing and Building Services’ and agreed by the Cabinet Working Group on the 30th September 2013.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet approve the change plan that was endorsed at the first meeting of Cabinet Working Group (Appendix A) and the associated Terms of Reference of he group.

2.         That Cabinet agree the change to the proposed governance structure (attached as Appendix B) with an amendment to include the Quality and Design Forum as the primary tenant consultation body.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure that Cabinet are kept informed of the work undertaken by the Cabinet Working Group in monitoring the progress being made by the Head of Housing and Building Services in terms of the Building Services Change Plan.

2.         To authorise an amendment to the governance structure.

Background

2.         On the 15th March 2013, it was brought to the attention of the Head of Accountancy and Resource Management, that a budget monitoring process had uncovered potentially serious issues within Building Services.

3.         A robust audit investigation was carried out the results of which are explicit within the report presented to Audit Committee on the 8th of July 2013.  

4.         On the 18th of March the newly appointed Head of Housing and Building Services started her new role and on taking on the role also recognised that there were serious management, operational and cultural issues associated with how Building Services delivered its responsive repairs service and set up a Mobile Working Steering Group.

5.      Since the original audit carried out in May a number of further internal audits have been carried out focusing on the use of sub-contractors and the Council's stores. Recommendations from these reports included the requirement to review the division's approaches to engaging sub-contractors and a review of the stores and associated stock management arrangements. Further audits have also be carried out in terms of 'ticketed work' and Welsh Housing Quality Standard delivery. Reports of which are yet to be finalised.

6.      At its meeting of 29th July 2013 Cabinet agreed that the Head of Housing and Building Services should develop a change plan to drive forward service improvement and cultural change within Building Services and that the proposed governance structure presented to Members be adopted to ensure that the work contained within the change plan is agreed and monitored (Cabinet Minute C1444 refers).

Relevant Issues and Options

7.      Since July 2013 the Head of Housing and Building Services has been developing a change plan.  The change plan was presented to the Cabinet Working Group on the 30th of September 2013. The following details the actions agreed at the meeting: Terms of Reference of the Group to be recommended to Cabinet (attached as Appendix C), the Change Plan to include an additional action namely that an emphasis should be placed on billing i.e. billing by Building Services should be carried out in a timely manner to allow internal departments to manage their budgets effectively; and that the plan be forwarded to Cabinet for approval.  

8.      Effective monitoring of the plan will be necessary to ensure it stays on track. The Cabinet Working group will monitor the progress of the operational actions. Associated key performance measures will be used to establish the effectiveness of the actions implemented e.g. quality assurance checking, tenant satisfaction surveys, productivity statistics. On-going reports will also be made to Audit Committee.

9.      To ensure tenants are placed at the heart of the monitoring process it is proposed that the governance structure, which was agreed at Cabinet in July 2013, be amended to include the Quality and Design Forum as the tenant based consultation body.  Further to this it is proposed that the Head of Housing and Building Services report to the group on progress on a quarterly basis.  The amended structure is attached as Appendix B.

10.    It is recognised that Change Plan is an evolving document and additional actions will included as and when necessary. Any major changes to the plan will be reported to Cabinet.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

11.    It is anticipated that the restructure of the Building Services Team, to reflect the need for a stronger technical client role, will have budgetary implications.  The additional costs will form part of a restructure report that will be submitted to a later Cabinet meeting.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

12.    Developing a robust approach to the asset management of both our houses and our wider property portfolio will have sustainability implications.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

13.    There are no Legal Implications at this time.

Crime and Disorder Implications

14.    There are no Crime and Disorder Implications.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

15.    There are no Equal Opportunity Implications.

Corporate/Service Objectives

16.    To manage the Council's workforce, money, information and assets efficiently, effectively and securely.

Policy Framework and Budget

17.    This report is within the policy framework.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

18.    The report presents Vale wide information so no Ward Member consultation is required.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

19.    Housing and Public Protection.

Background Papers

Building Services Change Plan (presented to Cabinet Working Group)

 

Contact Officer

Hayley Selway, Head of Housing and Building Services Tel. No. 02920 673124

 

Officers Consulted

Accountant Housing

Operational Manager Legal Services

 

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter Director of Visible Services and Housing