Transforming Wirral - Strategic Asset Review
Decision Maker: Council, Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
To report back on the Strategic Asset Review
The Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Corporate Services presented a report which described progress to date on the Council’s Strategic Asset Review and recommended proposals for taking forward the Review. The Strategic Asset Review was an opportunity to enhance service delivery for local people through better, more fit-for-purpose facilities that were more energy efficient and less costly to maintain and operate. The Review was a key project underpinning two of the Council’s corporate priorities for improvement for 2008/09: to improve the use of the Council’s land and assets and to create a sustainable and stable budget, providing value for money.
The Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources indicated that the public expected the Council to operate efficiently and hoped that everyone engaged in the process. He moved an amendment, duly seconded and it was –
Resolved - That
(1) Many of the Council’s buildings are old, energy inefficient, and inherited from five separate district councils in the 1970s when the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral was created.
Cabinet is aware, both from the Asset Review being carried out, and from the Cultural Services review, that many of these buildings, as they are now, are not necessarily located in the best place for Wirral residents and do not provide modern, accessible, user friendly facilities fit for the 21st century.
Cabinet therefore welcomes the report as an opportunity to enhance local service delivery for local people through better, more fit-for-purpose facilities that are more energy efficient and less costly to maintain and operate.
Energy costs for example, even with energy saving measures already taken, are projected to rise by £9m in 2008/10 - equivalent to a 9% rise in Council Tax, and the repairs backlog currently tops the £10m mark.
Cabinet asserts that doing nothing is not an option and that they have a real responsibility to Wirral’s tax payers to take action to make the Council’s assets sustainable and bring them into the 21st Century.
Cabinet fully endorses the principles outlined in the report and agrees the recommendations as set out below. It urges the Officers to complete the area review of the borough as rapidly as possible and bring back to Cabinet its findings across the whole borough in order to allow wide ranging strategic decisions to be taken on the best possible information.
Cabinet further endorses the need to expedite the review of the Council’s administrative buildings, in the light of modern technology available to allow mobile working, the need for sustainability and the need to reduce overheads by working from the fewest possible buildings. Given the potential substantial savings in this exercise Cabinet instructs officers to use all available means to achieve this in the shortest possible time and agrees that the Chief Executive be given delegated authority for any necessary expenditure up to a maximum of £100,000 to be funded from the Efficiency Investment Fund;
(2) the principles set out in paragraph 4.9 of this report guide and inform the future phases of the Strategic Asset Review.
(3) co-location of One Stop Shops and libraries (to facilitate access to information for local people) be explored further where possible;
(4) the area reviews for the remainder of the Borough (including the wards of Bebington, Bromborough, Clatterbridge, Eastham, Greasby, Frankby, Irby, Pensby, Thingwall and Upton) be commenced and expedited, with a view to the Strategic Asset Review progressing on a Borough wide basis;
(5) the provisional findings of the area reviews be subjected to cost benefit analysis to assess the viability of the preliminary findings;
(6) the area reviews be linked with the decision of Cabinet on the associated Report (elsewhere on this Agenda) on the Strategic Development Plan for Leisure and Cultural Services;
(7) staff who may be affected by any proposed changes be kept informed of emerging proposals; and that, following completion of the cost benefit analysis referred to above, consultation be undertaken with: (a) Area Forums; (b) service users (as to their needs and the facilities they would like); and (c) the wider community (as to optimum value for money for all local people);
(8) reports be brought to future meetings of the Cabinet on:
An update on backlog maintenance (together with an action plan);
A draft policy on community management and ownership of public assets;
A draft policy on asset disposals (with particular reference to disposals at an undervalue to promote the delivery of affordable housing).
(9) discussions continue with the PCT and Police (and other potential public and voluntary sector partners) to explore opportunities for shared use of assets; and that the opportunity for a joint development with the PCT at Europa Pools be given high priority and be the subject of a detailed report to Members; and
(10) the review of the Council’s office and administrative buildings (including Facilities Management arrangements) be expedited with a view to moving to a smaller number of buildings and optimising value for money for local people.
Report author: Chief Executive
Publication date: 22/10/2008
Date of decision: 16/10/2008
Decided at meeting: 16/10/2008 - Cabinet
Effective from: 30/10/2008