THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
CABINET: 13TH JULY, 2015
REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT): 16TH JUNE, 2015
BUILDING CLEANING AND SECURITY REVIEW (REF) -
Cabinet, at its meeting on 1st June, 2015 was provided with an update on developments in the Building Cleaning and Security Service as part of the Reshaping Services project and proposed changes to the cleaning and security services provided at corporate office buildings.
The report outlined that the Council operated an internal Cleaning and Security Service within the Visible Services and Housing Directorate. The services were provided to schools and the Council’s other public buildings, including council offices. The Council’s Facilities Management team undertook the ‘client’ role (purchased services from the Cleaning and Security Service) and managed the budget associated with cleaning and security at office buildings. Schools chose to make arrangements under Service Level Agreements with the Cleaning and Security Service for cleaning in schools.
In recent years, the Building Cleaning and Security Service had seen a reduction in the number of school and office sites procuring cleaning services, reduced to 84 from 99 over a five year period. With a reducing number of clients, the Building Cleaning and Security Service was now apportioning overheads over a smaller number of customers and this was eroding its overall financial viability, necessitating a fundamental examination of the service. It was noted that the service scored highly in terms of customer satisfaction, measured by regular client surveys.
The report also set out proposals to change the level of office cleaning and security provision at Council office buildings in order to ensure appropriate service levels and to achieve the approved savings contained in the Council’s Final Revenue Budget Proposals 2015/16 associated with building running costs. The report also proposed that the review of Cleaning and Security Services (which was to be undertaken as part of tranche two of the Reshaping Services programme) should ascertain the long term viability of the service and, where appropriate, identify alternative ways of delivering these services. The security and cleaning services were commissioned by the Council’s Facilities Management team and provided by the Council’s internal Cleaning & Security Service at the following buildings: Civic Offices, Town Hall, Docks Office, Alps Depot, Court Road Depot, and Provincial House. The Council also operated from a wide range of other locations. A review of these assets was currently underway in order to identify opportunities for rationalisation and further efficiency savings which would be reported to Cabinet separately.
It was recognised that the changes being proposed in the report would have impacts for a range of stakeholders. Financial, equality and employment implications had and would continue to be fully considered and revised as appropriate. Details of these implications and the impact on Building Services provision and Users could be found in the relevant sections of the report.
The report stated that the implementation of changes would require a clear communication and engagement strategy with staff and the recognised trade unions from across the Council. To ensure a consistent approach was adopted to implement these changes, it was proposed that changes to both cleaning and security functions were progressed following a timeline of key activities as detailed in the report. As part of the consultation arrangements, the service would progress these proposals in accordance with the Council's agreed policies and procedures, in particular the Change Management and the Avoiding Redundancy policy and procedures.
Implementation of the proposals for both the security and cleaning functions was estimated to realise a total budget saving of £308,037. Based on the project plan, these savings would be realised from 1st December, 2015 which would equate to an estimated budget saving of £120,000 in the 2015/16 financial year and the remaining £188,037 in 2016/17. This would contribute to the £500,000 saving set out in the Council’s Final Revenue Budget Proposals 2015/16 for ‘a review of Council-wide property costs, including running costs’, as formally approved by Council on 4th March, 2015 (minute number 941). The remainder would be realised from further property related savings initiatives. Supplemental information was also tabled at the meeting relating to the overhead costs of the proposals for Committee’s information.
The report, along with the supplementary information, had also been referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Corporate Resources) for their consideration with the intention that the comments from both the Committees be reported back to Cabinet for their final determination at its meeting on 29th June 2015. The Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance and Community Safety stated that it had been an extremely difficult report to put together and it was as a result of austerity measures that savings had had to be identified. Members of the Committee also stated that they were disappointed that these actions were having to be taken and were reassured by the Director that the Human Resources and Employment Relations implications for staff were extremely important matters which would require a clear communication and engagement strategy with staff and the recognised Trade Unions from across the Council. As part of the consultation arrangements, the Director further advised that the service would progress the proposals in accordance with the Council’s agreed policies and procedures in particular the Change Management and the Avoiding Redundancy Policy procedures. However, where possible, opportunities to mitigate displacement of staff would be fully explored through matching existing staff to appropriate posts or re-deploying to suitable existing vacant positions within the Service and the wider Council as described in the report. The service would also be looking to be flexibile with proposals made by staff during the process. The Council would also continue to work with partner organisations to determine whether potential existed to support staff in acquiring employment in other organisations if required. He further assured Members that the Council was committed to offering voluntary redundancy opportunities to staff in circumstances where changes of scale were being proposed. It was also important to note that the current vacancies within each service area had been analysed and could be found at Appendix E to the report outlining that within the Security Service there were currently four vacant posts across a number of sites offering a total of 148 weekly hours, and for the Cleaning Service there were currently 31 vacant posts across a number of sites offering a total of 329 average hours each week. He had also been informed that day of the resignation of a security supervisor who would be leaving the Council for employment elsewhere.
Members in referring to the impact on the car parking service were advised that a review had been commissioned into car parking charging in town centres with the consultant’s report being expected prior to the August recess. The Director advised that a specific piece of work would also have to be organised for the Civic Offices and Leisure Centre car parks. The Chairman requested that such reports also be referred to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration once received. A number of Members referred to the suggested use of swipe cards at the barriers to the entrances of the Council offices car parks and the issues and implications as a result, with it being noted that it would probably be best to wait for the car parking report to be presented for consideration before further discussion too place. The Director advised that he hoped to present a range of options for Members consideration in due course.
Members were also keen to learn from the Director the views of the Trade Unions on the report and were informed that the Director had written a personal letter to staff and that the Trade Unions had been fully involved in the process.
The Leader of the Council, with permission to speak, also stated that in his view this had been the most difficult report for his consideration in view of the staffing implications. Although he was fully aware of the savings that had to be made he however, took the opportunity to urge all Members of the Council to consider the report and during the consultation period provide any ideas / suggestions for consideration by the Cabinet.
The Committee aware of the implications of the report and the need for the Council to consider savings in the current climate requested that if the Cabinet agree the report on 29th June 2015 that a further report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee following the outcome of the avoiding redundancy policy and the impact on staff. It was subsequently
(1) T H A T the proposed changes to Cleaning and Security Services provided at corporate buildings as outlined in the report be accepted.
(2) T H A T, notwithstanding the further reports to be presented as outlined above, Cabinet be advised that a further report to also be presented to the Scrutiny Committee detailing the outcome of the avoiding redundancy policy and the impact of the proposals on staff.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) In light of the austerity measures being imposed on the Council.
(2) To advise Members of the detail of the impact of the proposals on staff.”
Attached as Appendix – Reference to Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 16th June, 2015