Agenda and minutes
Venue: Melrose Hall, Melrose Avenue, Hoylake, Wirral
Contact: Tracey Smith Senior Community Engagement Co-ordinator Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 0151 691 8026
Welcome, introductions and apologies
The Chair, Councillor Gerry Ellis, welcomed forum members and 70 members of the public to the West Wirral Area Forum meeting at Melrose Hall, Hoylake.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor John Hale.
RESOLVED: To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Area Forum on 29 June 2011 as a correct record.
Bridge Court: The Chair explained that Wirral Partnership Homes cleared the site because the properties did not meet new Government standards. The Primary Care Trust has been searching for alternative site for the West Kirby Health Centre for some time, and negotiations have begun on the possibility of the PCT acquiring the land to develop a health centre.
Neighbourhood plans update:
A Neighbourhood Plan is being developed for every community in Wirral to reflect each area’s unique characteristics needs and potential. Members of those communities are encouraged to think about and identify the key challenges for those who live and work in that community and, by completing a questionnaire to suggest where Wirral Council should focus its resources and how it should deliver local services to improve the area.
Questionnaires were available at the meeting, or can be completed on line at www.wirral.gov.uk/neighbourood.
The responses received will be collated and reported to the community via the Council website and local media and community events in October/November 2011.
Question: How are focus groups being consulted?
Answer: We ask people to get in touch with us. We have been going along to speak to particular people. We had a good response this year. People contacted us and we went out and spoke to them.
Question: Only 51 questionnaires have been returned from the whole of West Kirby, Hoylake, Meols etc?
Answer: Yes, so far. Forms are being received daily. The closing date is on Friday.
Councillor Green stated that the consultation provides a real opportunity for local residents to determine what they want for their area and he hoped that as many residents as possible would participate. He thanked Tracey Smith and her team for their efforts in co-ordinating the exercise.
David Green, Director of Technical Services, updates on:
The Director of Technical Services, David Green, gave verbal updates on the
4.1 Parks and Countryside Services Procurement Exercise [PACSPE]: In June 2008, Wirral Cabinet commissioned a review of the arrangements for the maintenance of the Council’s parks, open spaces, cemeteries and crematoria, with the aim of delivering a cost-effective, more manageable service for less money.
The process began with a major consultation exercise, which included Area Forums. Everyone who used the parks was given the opportunity to contribute to the specification and to inject imagination and innovation into future provision.
The Council set a budget of £7.5 million for the project and in July 2010, the Cabinet made a decision that an in-house bid should not be submitted. Seven contractors were invited to apply, the price quoted by six of the seven bidders was below the target figure of £7.5 million, and a preferred external provider was identified. The timetable envisaged a contract being let to commence in January 2012.
A report was submitted to Cabinet on 22 September 2011. At the same meeting, the Cabinet received a highly critical independent report on the Council’s Corporate Governance arrangements which, among other things, referred to Wirral Council ‘not being able to commission, manage, and where necessary, dismiss failing contractors and suppliers’. The Cabinet made a decision NOT to award the PACSPE contract but had made a series of recommendations, extracts from which are quoted below:
The difference in cost between the current Council budget and that of the preferred tenderer is sufficiently marginal for the difference to be eroded over a period of three years by the contractual cost of inflation’
At these rates over the ten year life of the contract for every £1 million value in the contract, inflation would increase the £10 million cost to £11.46 million. Over the following seven years the continued impact of the contractual inflation provision would be likely to work to the Council’s disadvantage at a time when the Council is being required substantially to reduce its annual expenditure.
In the current severe economic climate, local authorities are facing unprecedented levels of reduction in their funding and Wirral will face having to save in excess of £86 million over the next three years.
In the light of the above, the Cabinet does not believe that it would be in the Council’s best interests to let this contract to an external contactor and agrees to retain these services in house.
The Cabinet had stated that it has every confidence in the skills and abilities of its workforce and their commitment to the services they provide and is confident that with appropriate support and good management they will co-operate in delivering a high quality service for the people of Wirral in the future. Cabinet recognised however, that it is essential to improve the quality of the service provided in a sustainable way, within the budget provided, and that to do so will mean substantial improvements in the management and ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Reports from Partner Organisations:
Merseyside Fire & Rescue Services
· There were only three house fires in West Wirral in the past six months – due to the impact of fire safety checks, risk assessments and the installation of free smoke alarms.
· The number of deliberate secondary fires in vehicles and buildings has increased.
· A bonfire strategy has been developed in conjunction with Merseyside Police and Wirral Council. From 17 October, leaflets will be circulated given free phone numbers to report incidents where combustible materials are being stockpiled.
· Crime and anti-social behaviour has reduced in the past month, with just 47 offences committed.
· Other statistics and contact details were included in the October 2011 neighbourhood newsletter. Questions and details of particular problems would be taken at the end of the meeting.
Public Question Time:
· Wirral Partnership Homes are consulting on the use of the Hoose Court site, pending redevelopment. An open air consultation will be held on the site between 2 pm and 7 pm on Tuesday, 18 October.
· British Rail will be starting work in the vicinity during the weekend of 8 October.
· United Utilities will begin digging up the Birkenhead Road near Market Street on 17 October.
Public Question Time
Date of future meeting: