Issue - meetings

Strategic Asset Review

Meeting: 09/02/2009 - Council (Item 118)



Proposed by Councillor Harney

Seconded by Councillor Gilchrist


(1)  Council


(i) believes that many issues and proposals contained in the Strategic Asset Review have caused considerable concern to the communities throughout Wirral. 

Council recognises that, since October, there has been uncertainty around the future provision of libraries, recreational and other facilities;


(ii) is concerned that the direction of the Strategic Asset Review, creating larger complexes, in key locations, is too broad an approach for a borough consisting of so many communities;


(iii) believes that section (26) dealing with the rationalisation of office accommodation is what the public rightly expect should happen with an organisation of this size.


(2)  Council believes that the public deserve and prefer community-based, accessible services, with savings achieved in office accommodation and through agile working, rather than the closure of facilities.


(3)  Therefore, recalling that this matter was first ‘expedited’ on 16 October 2008, Council requests that this work must be brought forward as a matter of urgency and calls for that approach to receive priority in order to secure savings.


(4)  Council believes that tackling too many issues, in too short a timescale, has created an excessive workload and a lack of effective capacity to tackle the issues effectively.  However the consolidation of buildings and facilities may be achievable by working with each community in a sensitive and realistic manner.


(5)  That the proposed programme of library closures be rescinded and budgetary provision should be made.  The prospect of borrowing to secure physical improvements to buildings, saving energy and running costs, remodelling and improving them, should be properly addressed, with regard to capitalisation and borrowing costs.


(6)  Council therefore resolves:


(i)  That the proposals in sections (1) to (6) inclusive of the recommendation be approved, subject to officers reporting back on the results of the investigations and discussions and alerting members to areas of concern at the earliest opportunity.


(ii)  That the proposals in paragraphs (7) up to and including (16) of the proposals be not proceeded with.


(iii)  That the innovative schemes referred to in sections (17) and (18) be commended for further development and introduction.


(iv)  That the reassurances and clear statement regarding Birkenhead Central Library in paragraph (19) be warmly welcomed and endorsed.


(v)  That, with regard to all the centres and facilities covered in paragraph (20), the emphasis must be on working with communities so that the users can make an informed judgment on their provision and individual circumstances.


(vi)  That the proposals contained in paragraphs (21) to (25) be approved in principle, but developed further and that progress reports on each of the matters be given to the Cabinet at regular intervals, and that, as a matter of principle, any member requesting information on progress be kept fully informed.


(vii)  That the issues of office accommodation and agile working be addressed with urgency.


(viii)  That paragraph (29) be set aside in order to assist this process and to proceed on the basis outlined.


(ix)  Finally, that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 118

Meeting: 09/02/2009 - Council (Item 124)



Proposed by Councillor Mitchell

Seconded by Councillor Gilchrist


(1) That no action be taken relating to the provision and pattern of library services covered in this decision.


(2) Council notes that last Autumn the Department for Culture, Media and Sport launched the Library Service Modernisation Review:


to refresh the Government’s vision for the public library service that enables local authorities to respond to consumer expectations and to deliver their aspirations for their communities”.


Council recognises that this is to be published this Spring, then consulted upon.


(3) Council believes that no action should be taken until due attention has been given to its conclusions but notes that the aims of the Review are the provision of a ‘community-led service’, the kind of service Wirral residents have been urging this Council to retain.


Having applied the guillotine the Council did not debate this matter.


Resolved (29:35:1) – That the amendment be not approved.


NB.  The following Councillors requested that their vote in favour of the amendment be recorded:


Councillors T Anderson, C Blakeley, SL Clarke, WA Duffey, DM Elderton, GJ Ellis, Mrs L Fraser, P Gilchrist, JE Green, J Hale, T Harney, Karen Hayes, Paul Hayes, AC Hodson, PSC Johnson, J Keeley, I Lewis, D Mitchell, SD Moseley, SR Mountney, S Niblock, C Povall, A Pritchard, Mrs LA Rennie, SL Rowlands, Sue Taylor, GCJ Watt, Mrs P Williams and Mrs K Wood.


Meeting: 16/10/2008 - Cabinet (Item 216)

216 Transforming Wirral - Strategic Asset Review pdf icon PDF 97 KB


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)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 216