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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 24 March, 2014

 

Report of the Leader

 

Space Project - Progress Report

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To provide Cabinet with an update on the progress of the Council's Space Project.

2.         To outline the next steps to be taken as part of the project.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet note the contents of the report and progress to date.

2.         That the report is referred to Scrutiny Committee for information.

Reasons for the Recommendations

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

2.         For Scrutiny to be kept informed of progress of the project.

 

Background

3.         Cabinet endorsed phase one of the Space Project on 25 February 2013, to relocate approximately 94 Children & Young People Services staff and associated facilities from Haydock House to the Docks Office and in so doing, vacate and dispose of Haydock House.

4.         To relocate staff and facilities from Haydock House (a 1400 square metre building), to the Docks Office (a building with limited vacant space) would require considerable change. This would include a large number of staff moves and building works to create additional office space within the Docks Office and enable the relocation.

5.         As the Docks Office is a grade II listed building, to undertake any building works would require an application for listed building consent to be granted or declined by CADW. Since any works would be restricted within building preservation guidelines, this would present a challenge when planning to make more efficient use of space.

Relevant Issues and Options

6.         In February 2013, a "desk occupancy study" was completed at the Docks Office. This study, which monitored space utilisation over a sample three week period, highlighted an under-utilisation of desks and office space in the building. Findings from this study and an earlier study at Haydock House were used to identify opportunities for "smarter working", including hot-desking and provided a minimum space requirement per service area on which space plans were based.

7.         Space plans were refined and developed alongside service managers to incorporate service specific requirements and maximise use of space. Agreed plans fed into an application for listed building consent, which was submitted to CADW in September 2013 for permission to undertake the necessary building works at the Docks Office.

8.         In the meantime, Haydock House was marketed for sale and a buyer attracted. It is hoped that the sale will be completed by mid-May 2014. However, this is subject to contract negotiations.

9.         With an estimated completion date for the disposal of Haydock House and indications of a twelve week turnaround time for the listed building consent decision, an outline plan of moves was prepared and initial moves commenced within the Docks Office in November 2013. By January, over 40 staff had been relocated within the building.

Training Move to Civic Offices

10.      Due to fire regulations, a restriction applied at the Docks Office on the number of people that could be present above and below ground floor. With training staff and course delegates accounting for around one third of the numbers of people permitted above ground floor, a decision was made to relocate HR and Social Services training staff and facilities from the Docks to the Civic Offices.

11.      The move decision provided the opportunity to co-locate staff from three training teams - HR Social Services and ICT (who were already based in the Civic Offices), into one shared office, providing service benefits. Works were undertaken at the Civic Offices to enable the move, utilising vacant space on the third floor.

12.      By December, the works and move of training staff was completed. The design and location of the new training facilities and office saw a reduction in the training space footprint of over 25%, a difference of some 100 square metres on previous space allocation.

Listed Building Consent

13.      Listed building consent was granted by CADW on 18 December 2013, making the requested alterations to the Docks Office possible. Building works therefore began in January, with the conversion of storage space on the lower ground floor into office accommodation for staff. This created a shared office space for three Social Services teams to co-locate, providing a space saving of some 75 square metres (46% reduction in previous office space allocation).

14.      Further works are scheduled to take place within the next few weeks, to enable further moves of staff. This includes the removal of temporary partitions within two Planning & Transportation offices on the upper floors to create larger, open plan offices. This will generate additional space and increase the flexibility of the space for future use.

Storage

15.      A space utilisation review of the Docks Office and Haydock House identified a significant amount of space taken up by file storage within the buildings. Work subsequently progressed within service areas to reduce storage prior to moves. At the same time, the Council's Records Management Unit (RMU) which houses archive files, reached full capacity and closed for incoming files for a number of months.

16.      To enable the Space project moves to continue as planned, the project team secured a vacant unit at the Council's Vale Enterprise Centre (VEC) to serve as an RMU temporary "overflow" for archive files. To enable secure offsite storage, additional security measures were put in place at the unit. Storage consolidation has been on-going within the RMU for a number of months to free up space and archive files are due to be transferred to the VEC unit shortly to allow for files to be transferred from the Docks Office and Haydock House.

17.      It is anticipated that progress of the corporate scanning project will significantly reduce storage space requirements and favourably impact the Space project as files are bulk-scanned and stored electronically.

Children & Young People Services Relocation

18.      The relocation of Children & Young People Services requires the move of four floors of staff and facilities from Haydock House to one floor of the Docks Office. The move will see a reduction in office space allocation for the service of 292 square metres. This equates to a reduction of 35% on existing space.

19.      To create a fit for purpose reception facility for clients and visitors, designs were developed with service managers and the Council's Health & Safety department. Initial works identified provided for a reception desk and waiting area, interview rooms and a duty office. Additional works were subsequently added to the programme to design in safety and security recommendations and minimise risk to staff. This included the addition of a secure exit route for staff from interview rooms.

20.      As the new reception will make use of the current side entrance to the Docks, works will be undertaken to improve external access to the building. This includes creating a safe walkway for visitors through the current car park, suitable for parents with pushchairs and improved disability access.

21.      The design of office space was developed with managers to incorporate the particular needs of Children & Young People Services for increased privacy within the space allocation provided. This includes confidential/quiet zones to allow for sensitive one-to-one conversations and supervision meetings, accessible to both staff and managers within the teams. Works have been included in plans to create these zones within the office space. Lighting works have also been factored into plans to provide for the 50% increased number of occupants within the offices.

22.      With the reconfiguration of space on the ground floor and addition of the Children Services reception, additional security doors will be installed to restrict visitor access to the public only areas of the Docks Office. A new access control system will also be introduced, as currently in operation at the Civic Offices.

23.      Following a theft at the Docks Office and a subsequent internal audit recommendation, intruder alarm upgrade works have been included within the building works programme. This will make the existing installation compliant with current standards and regulations and allow police response to be re-instated.

24.      Alterations are due to be made to the existing fire alarm to maintain the level of protection across the building with the increase in building occupants. An updated fire risk assessment will be carried out at the Docks Offices following completion of moves.

ICT

25.      To cater for the additional numbers of staff within the building, additional network points will be required. Following a survey of existing network points, works to install additional points has begun.

Furniture

26.      To fit additional staff into the Docks Office, it had originally been assumed that existing furniture would not be fit for purpose. As floor plans were developed, a survey of existing furniture was undertaken. This determined that furniture would in the majority of cases be suitable, and was in adequate condition to be re-used. As a result, minimal investment will be required to provide new furniture.

27.      As office moves have occurred, unwanted and / or items in poor condition have been collected and temporarily stored in vacated offices. The project team will look to re-use such items where possible but it is likely that there will be a surplus of unwanted furniture at the end of the phase. Items will be advertised on the Council's StaffNet for re-use within other Council buildings and alternative means of re-use or disposal will be considered where unwanted items remain.

Phase One Completion

28.      The remaining moves to be undertaken under phase one of the project are dependent on the completion of building works. Moves of staff within the Docks are currently planned to complete in March, with Children & Young People Services moves to take place in late March/early April prior to the Haydock House sale completion. Due to a newly established procurement framework agreement for removals, competitive quotes have been received for each required move.

Costs

29.      Costs were originally estimated at £353,898 for phase one of the Space Project, as reported and approved by Cabinet in February 2013. A sum of £362,000 was originally set aside as part of the 2013/14 capital programme. Cabinet on 10th February 2014 approved the merging of the Dock Office mechanical and electrical works and ground floor toilet and kitchen refurbishment scheme totalling £58k into the Space Project scheme, to allow for ease of delivery. The revised 2013/14 approved budget now stands at £420,000.

30.      The revised cost of the space project element of the scheme, based on tender prices is £315,674, which is below original cost estimate and within budget. Other Docks works now included in the scheme are also within budget. It is recommended that the remaining balance of £46,326 be kept as contingency for 2013/14 but would be carried forward to 2014/15 in phase two if not required. A breakdown of revised costs is provided below.

 

Work Type

Paragraph Reference

Revised Cost

A

New Reception Works

19

£104,640

B

Children & Young People Services Office Works

21

£43,800

C

Storage to Office Conversion Works

13

£28,800

D

Civic Offices Training Facility Works

10-12

£28,200

E

Removals

28

£25,087

F

Furniture

26

£17,831

G

Access Control Works

22

£17,760

H

Office Partition Removal Works

14

£9,600

I

External Access Works

20

£9,600

J

Intruder Alarm

23

£8,880

K

ICT Network Works

25

£8,676

L

Fire Alarm Alterations

24

£3,600

M

VEC Storage security

16

£3,079

N

Miscellaneous Works (electrical works to new meeting rooms & minor office alterations)

-

£6,121

 

Financial Benefits

31.      Annual savings of approximately £90,000 will be generated through reduced running costs, as a result of vacating Haydock House plus a capital receipt generated from sale of the building.  A purchaser has been identified for Haydock House but this is still subject to contract. It is currently anticipated that savings are well within original estimates.

32.      A sum of £100,000 had been included in 2014/15 capital programme, to provide for the potential demolition of Haydock House but this sum is no longer required.

Other Benefits

33.      A number of non-financial benefits will be realised by the end of phase one of the project in addition to the financial benefits stated above.

34.      Children & Young People Services will be co-located with existing Social Services teams at the Docks Office, providing service benefits. Social Services, HR and ICT training teams and facilities have now been co-located at the Civic Offices.

35.      The condition of Council buildings will improve due to the disposal of Haydock House (a building in poor condition). In addition, the works undertaken at the Docks Office as part of the relocation of Children & Young People Services will improve the condition of this grade II listed building.

36.      Energy savings of around 67 carbon emission tonnes per annum will be generated through a reduced space footprint.

Phase 2

37.      In February 2013, Cabinet approved in principle, for the Space project team to investigate the vacation and end of lease for Provincial House to generate savings, as part of phase two of the project.

38.      Further investigation will be undertaken as phase one of the Space Project comes to a close in April 2014. This will look into the potential relocation of staff and facilities from Provincial House. Alternative locations for the Open Learning Centre currently based on the ground floor of the building are already being considered.

39.      The ICT computer room project, out for construction tender shortly will release additional office accommodation within the Civic Offices. This will assist with phase two of the project in addition to improving the Council's environmental impact.

40.      Following the move of Housing staff to the Alps Depot in December 2012, plans will also be developed to implement smarter working and free up office space for alternative use, considering the implications of collaborative working.

41.      A further report to Cabinet on phase two of the Space Project will follow in due course.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

42.      The capital budget for phase one of the Space Project is £420,000. Total gross cost is under budget, at £373,674.

43.      The sale of Haydock House (when completed) will generate a capital receipt and revenue savings of approximately £90,000 per annum.

44.      The project is being delivered with existing internal staff resources and managed by Property Services. There will be agents fees payable on completion of the sale of Haydock House which will be funded through the capital receipt.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

45.      The intended purchasers of Haydock House propose to redevelop the building into affordable housing and a retail unit for a café, benefiting the local community, subject to the necessary planning consents.

46.      Building works to the Docks Office and Civic Offices and disposal of Haydock House contributes towards the Space Project's objectives, one of which is to reduce carbon emissions.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

47.      None identified.

Crime and Disorder Implications

48.      None identified.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

49.      The new reception area in the Docks Office has been designed to be fully accessible and complies with disability legislation.

50.      External access works will improve disability access to the Docks Office.

Corporate/Service Objectives

51.      The project aligns with the Resources service objective RS01/A008 to optimise use of the Council's operational buildings.

52.      The project assists with corporate improvement objective 7 for 2012/13 that being to maximise use of our property resources.

Policy Framework and Budget

53.      This report is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

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

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

55.      Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Space Project Cabinet Report, dated 25 February 2013

Smarter Working Policy

 

Contact Officer

Jane Wade, Operational Manager - Property

 

Officers Consulted

Director of Development Services

Head of Children & Young People Services

Head of Social Services Business Management & Innovation

Head of Adult Services / Locality Manager

Head of Strategic ICT

Head of Human Resources

Operational Manager - Corporate Policy & Communications

Operational Manager - Development Control

Principal Accountant

Principal Personnel Officer, Human Resources

Principal Health & Safety Officer

Principal Lawyer

Facilities Manager

Group Estates Officer

Information Manager

 

 

Responsible Officer:

Sian Davies, Managing Director

 

 

 

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