Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, Reading, RG1 2LU

Contact: Simon Hill - Committee Services Email: (simon.hill@reading.gov.uk)  0118 9372303

Link: Webcast of meeting

Media

Items
No. Item

60.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 16 December 2019 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

61.

Questions pdf icon PDF 238 KB

To receive any petitions from the public and any questions from the public and Councillors.

 

Minutes:

Questions on the following matters were submitted by members of the public:

 

 

Questioner

Subject

Reply

 

1.

Peter Burt

Leisure Centres

Cllr Hoskin

2.

Peter Burt

Consultation with Users

Cllr Hoskin

3.

Roger Lightfoot

Leisure Contract break point

Cllr Hoskin

4.

Roger Lightfoot

Leisure Contract bids

Cllr Hoskin

5.

Colin Lee

Financing of Leisure contract

Cllr Hoskin

6.

Colin Lee

Palmer Park pool

Cllr Hoskin

7.

Colin Lee

Rivermead contract settlement

Cllr Hoskin

8.

Richard Tredgett

Better Mental Health

Cllr Hoskin

9.

Richard Tredgett

Partnership work on community wellbeing

Cllr Hoskin

10.

Ann Dally

Debt and Mental Health

Cllr Emberson

11.

Ann Dally

Preventative Programmes

Cllr Emberson

12.

David McMullen

Management Capacity

Cllr Hoskin

13.

Tom Lake

Cost of Palmer Park pool

Cllr Hoskin

14.

Tom Lake

Palmer Park car parking

Cllr Hoskin

15.

Tom Lake

Arthur Hill refurbishment

Cllr Hoskin

 

Questions on the following matters were submitted by Councillors:

 

 

Questioner

Subject

Reply

 

1.

Cllr White

Zero Hours contracts

Cllr Hoskin

2.

Cllr White

Council Inaction on Green Road tennis courts

Cllr Page

3.

Cllr White

Eco Schools

Cllr Pearce

 

(The full text of the questions and responses was made available on the Reading Borough Council website).

62.

Design, Build, Operate and Maintain Contract for Boroughwide Leisure Facilities pdf icon PDF 199 KB

This report provides an update on the process to procure a strategic partner to design, build, operate and maintain the Council’s four leisure centres and seeks permission to award a 25-year contract to the preferred bidder.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report providing an update on the process to procure a strategic partner to design, build, operate and maintain the Council’s four leisure centres, and seeking permission to award a 25-year contract to the preferred bidder.  The following documents were attached to the report:

 

•Appendix A – Summary of Requirements

•Appendix B – Summary of Bids & Tender Evaluation (confidential)

•Appendix C – Bidder A images (confidential)

•Appendix D – Risk Register

•Appendix E - Reading Strategic Outcome Planning Model

•Appendix F - Equalities Impact Assessment

 

The report noted that the current leisure contract with Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) for Rivermead Leisure Centre expired at the end of December 2022, and a negotiated termination position had been agreed to facilitate the Boroughwide procurement process.  Aside from the management arrangement with GLL the remaining centres were currently managed directly by the Council.  The procurement process had tested the market through a competitive dialogue procedure for an external provider, including direct dialogue and negotiation with bidders to clarify and develop the submissions.  Two comprehensive and competitive bids had been submitted to the Council in October 2019, and these had been evaluated with 50% of the marks awarded for commercial and 50% for technical criteria.  Further information on the detail of the bids and the evaluation was attached to the report at Appendix B.  As a result of the evaluation it was recommended to enter into a new contract with ‘Bidder A’.

 

The report noted that the contract specification issued had included a new-build solution at Rivermead, incorporating a new competition standard pool with provision for diving, a new community pool at Palmer Park linked to existing facilities, improvements to existing leisure centres at South Reading and Meadway and introduction of membership and customer schemes allowing access to all Council facilities.  This would secure significant improvements to the current offer and be a key driver in delivering a number of Council priorities and community outcomes.  Further detail on the requirements of the new contract was set out in Appendix A to the report.  As part of the new contract the Council would enter into a lease agreement for the four sites with the preferred bidder; there would be a requirement to advertise the loss of open space to be used for leisure purposes to facilitate the construction of new facilities at Rivermead and Palmer Park.

 

This report also provided details of a variant bid option which both bidders had been asked to submit, to develop a larger 6 lane pool at Palmer Park in place of the minimum 4 lane pool set out in the specification at Appendix A.  The report set out the additional capital and revenue costs as well as potential increased income of a larger pool.  It was proposed at the meeting that the variant bid be accepted, on the basis of the highly accessible location of Palmer Park, the uniqueness of the comprehensive offer and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62.

63.

Essential Playground Works 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 71 KB

This report seeks approval to allocate the approved capital spend of £200,000 in 2019/20 for essential playgrounds works.

Minutes:

The Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report seeking approval to allocate approved capital spend of £200,000 in 2019/20 for essential playgrounds works.

 

The report noted that the Council carried out its own internal playground inspections and also instructed the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to carry out an annual independent inspection of its play areas.  The annual RoSPA inspection in October 2019 had recommended two items of equipment for immediate removal, and also advised the monitoring of others that were at risk.  Accessibility issues had also been identified at both Prospect and Palmer Parks, and investment in all-inclusive play was considered a priority.

 

The report explained that over the past few years parts of the disabled unit on the former ERAPA site at Palmer Park had been removed as they had failed inspections, reducing significantly the play value for children in wheelchairs.  It was therefore proposed that in Palmer Park one large climbing apparatus and several swing units be replaced.   In Prospect Park a tree had fallen next to the play area in 2019, after the ground underneath had been eroded by an underground spring in spate after the wet winter.  It was therefore proposed to relocate the play area away from the remaining large trees.  Any viable equipment would be moved, but most of the junior equipment and all toddler kit required refreshing, and the current provision for disabled children was also poor for an important park.  Investment was also proposed in Christchurch Meadows, one of few sites with fully-inclusive play equipment, where significant use meant that the site required refreshing.

 

Resolved –

 

          That the allocation of £200,000 capital spending in relation to the priorities, sites and programme set out in the report be approved.

64.

Central and Eastern Berkshire Joint Minerals and Waste Plan - Consultation on Sand and Gravel Provision and Operator Performance pdf icon PDF 117 KB

This report on the Central and Eastern Berkshire Joint Minerals and Waste Local Plan recommends an additional consultation stage on a Focused Regulation 18 Consultation on Sand and Gravel and Operator Performance, and seeks approval for a new version of the Minerals and Waste Local Development Scheme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report on the Central and Eastern Berkshire Joint Minerals and Waste Local Plan (CEBJMWP).  The following documents were attached to the report:

 

·         Appendix 1: Equality Impact Assessment scoping

·         Appendix 2: Focused Regulation 18 Consultation – Sand and Gravel Provision and Operator Performance

·         Appendix 3: Minerals and Waste Local Development Scheme

 

The report noted that a draft version of the CEBJMWP had been approved for consultation by the Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport Committee at its meeting on 2 July 2018 (Minute 8 refers).  It proposed a vision and spatial strategy and set out policies for the management of minerals and waste proposals, as well as proposed sites to help meet minerals and waste needs.  No sites had been identified within Reading Borough.  Due to a limited number of site options, a further ‘Call for Sites’ exercise had been carried out after the consultation, resulting in an additional site within the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead being proposed.

 

The report explained that a significant proportion of the plan’s expected minerals provision had been from the Bridge Farm site in Wokingham, but that this had recently been withdrawn following Wokingham Borough Council’s refusal of an application for mineral extraction.  Its removal meant that there was a substantial shortfall in meeting sand and gravel requirements, and in order to address the shortfall a further call for sites had been undertaken in autumn 2019, which had identified two potential sites in Wokingham and Windsor and Maidenhead Boroughs.  Consultation would be required on these sites and further policy approaches to address the minerals shortfall.  It was therefore proposed to undertake a further consultation under Regulation 18 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 before a full version of the plan was prepared for submission.  The proposed Focused Consultation on Sand and Gravel Provision and Operator Performance was attached to the report at Appendix 2.  Subject to approval by each of the four unitary authorities the consultation would take place between 10 February and 20 March 2020.

 

The report explained that the delays to the timescale of the CEBJMWP to incorporate additional consultation required amendment of the Local Development Scheme (LDS), a document which set out the Council’s process for producing planning policy documents.  The current version of Reading’s LDS had been approved in November 2016 and included a joint Minerals and Waste LDS as an appendix.  Approval was sought for a revised version of this Minerals and Waste LDS, which was attached to the report at Appendix 3.

 

Resolved –

 

(1)     That the Focused Consultation on Sand and Gravel Provision and Operator Performance (Appendix 2) be approved;

 

(2)     That community involvement on the Focused Consultation on Sand and Gravel Provision and Operator Performance and associated supporting documents be authorised;

 

(3)     That the Deputy Director of Planning, Transport and Regulatory Services be authorised to make any minor amendments necessary to the Focused Consultation on Sand and Gravel Provision and Operator Performance in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64.

65.

Civil Enforcement (Parking) Contract Review pdf icon PDF 78 KB

This report provides an update on work relating to the Civil Enforcement (parking) contract and recommends a further one-year extension to the current contract, during which a new specification and contract for Civil Enforcement based on the changing parking services market conditions will be prepared.

Minutes:

The Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report seeking approval for an extension of the current contract for civil enforcement (parking) and providing an update on work to review parking services.

 

The report noted that the current contract with NSL Ltd had commenced in November 2014 for an initial term of five years and extensions of a period or periods of not less than one year up to an additional five years.  At its meeting on 14 January 2019 the Committee had agreed an extension for a one-year period commencing in November 2019 (Minute 63 refers). Over the past 12 months officers had carried out a Parking Services Fundamental Service Review (FSR) and a review of the current parking services market supported by advice from specialist parking consultants.  The report summarised the proposed actions arising from the FSR, as well as contract improvements for the current extension period which had been implemented and reviewed.

 

The report explained that it was proposed to prepare a new specification and contract for Civil Enforcement based on the changing parking services market conditions, but that it would not be possible to deliver a new contract prior to the expiry of the current contract extension with NSL.  A further one-year extension to the contract was therefore recommended.

 

Resolved –

 

          That a one-year extension to the contract for Civil Enforcement with NSL Ltd from 1 November 2020 - 31 October 2021 be agreed in accordance with the terms of the contract.

66.

Contract Award - Measured Term Contract for Gas Central Heating Installations 2020-2025 pdf icon PDF 53 KB

The report seeks approval for the award of a ‘measured term’ contract for the provision of gas boiler and full central heating system installations relating to the repair and maintenance of the Council’s Housing Stock.

Minutes:

The Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report seeking approval for the award of a ‘measured term’ contract (MTC) for the provision of gas boiler and full central heating system installations, relating to the repair and maintenance of the Council’s Housing Stock.

 

The report explained that the Council’s Housing Property Services managed the day-to-day repairs, planned maintenance and voids repair works to approximately 5,600 Council properties.  Elements of this work were sometimes sub-contracted out through MTCs to provide specialist services or manage peaks in workload.  In each case the ability to carry out the work using existing resources or direct employment had been found to be uneconomical due to the level of spend or the capacity/specialist skills not being available internally.

 

The report explained that the current arrangements with contractors for gas central heating installations were due for renewal, and it was therefore proposed to invite tenders for an MTC covering gas boiler and full central heating system installations.  Tenderers would be invited to submit their price following the measured term format, and a negotiated single price delivery format would be agreed for two winning contractors.  No volume of expenditure would be guaranteed, and expenditure would depend on the actual level of work that was required to be sub-contracted.  Based on expenditure records the total expenditure was estimated to be circa £500,000 per annum for each contractor respectively.

 

Resolved –

 

          That the Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services, in consultation with the Lead Councillor for Housing, be authorised to award a Measured Term Contract for the Gas Central Heating Installations for a period of three years with a two-year extension.

67.

Customer Experience Strategy pdf icon PDF 93 KB

This report presents the Council’s new Customer Experience Strategy and the business case and mobilisation underpinning the implementation of the Strategy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Resources submitted a report presenting the new Customer Experience Strategy and the business case and mobilisation underpinning the implementation of the Strategy.  The following documents were attached to the report:

 

·         Appendix 1: Customer Experience Strategy

·         Appendix 2: Business case and mobilisation plan

·         Appendix 3: Customer Digital Experience capital bid business case

·         Appendix 4: Equality Impact Assessment

 

The report explained that the Customer Experience Strategy was built on a best practice approach to delivering customer services in both the public and private sector, using a model that had been adopted by a number of Councils.  The strategy set out a vision to achieve the best possible experience for the Council’s customers which was underpinned by six core themes:

 

        Achieving Customer Service Excellence

        Adopting a mindset and promise

        Involving the organisation

        Putting the customer at the heart of service and process design

        Harnessing digital technology

        Realising the power of data.

 

The strategy and mobilisation plan outlined a new operating model under which self-service would become the primary channel for customers to interact with the Council. High volume transactional, processing and assessment services would be brought together and managed in one place within the Council, with technical specialists refocussed on delivery of services to meet the more complex needs of customers.  Moving to a self-serve model would ensure that customers engaged with the Council at the most appropriate point to support their need and would allow resources to be prioritised on customers that required additional support.

 

The report noted that the strategy would be delivered in a phased manner, and the mobilisation plan set out activities to support the implementation of the strategy in Phase 1 of the programme to the end of 2020/21.  These included moving to a single telephone number, implementing new core service standards and KPIs across the Council, and implementing the new operating model including business process re-engineering.

 

Resolved –

 

That the Customer Experience Strategy, mobilisation plan and programme to embed the Strategy within the organisation be endorsed and adopted.

68.

Mortuary Services - Delegated Authority to Award Contract pdf icon PDF 65 KB

This report seeks delegated authority to enter into a contract to deliver mortuary services for HM Senior Coroner for Berkshire with effect from 1 April 2020.

Minutes:

The Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report seeking authority to enter into a contract to deliver mortuary services for HM Senior Coroner for Berkshire with effect from 1 April 2020, in accordance with the Council’s Contract Procedure Rules and the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

 

The report noted that the Council currently had arrangements in place with two NHS Trusts to provide mortuary facilities: Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust and Frimley Heath NHS Foundation Trust (Wexham Park Hospital, Slough).  Mortuaries were specialist facilities and no other suitable sites were available in Berkshire other than those used by the service.  The current contract with the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust had been in place since 2015 and would cease on 31 March 2020. A market testing exercise had been completed to explore alternative delivery models and to ensure that the council was receiving value for money, but no responses had been received, which confirmed the limited market for these services.  As a result, a Prior Information Notice had been published in September 2019 to give advance notice that the Council intended to arrange contracts for mortuary and post mortem services and to award contracts to the incumbent providers without further publication, unless expressions of interest were received from alternative economic operators. No expressions of interest had been received.    

 

The report explained that the two mortuaries in Reading and Slough which were used by the Coroner’s service were now the responsibility of Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Services (BSPS), a joint venture between Ashford & St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Frimley Heath NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.  Officers had started negotiations with BSPS to enter into a single contract to cover both sites, and it was proposed that the contract be for an initial three-year term with the option of extending up to a further 48 months.

 

Resolved –

 

(1)     That the recommended procurement route and process as set out in the report be noted;

 

(2)     That the Executive Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, the Assistant Director of Legal and Democratic Services and the Assistant Director of Finance, be authorised to enter into a contract with Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Services (BSPS) to provide mortuary services from 1 April 2020.

69.

Temporary Agency Staff - Contract Procurement pdf icon PDF 104 KB

This report seeks delegated authority to procure and award a contract for the supply of temporary agency staff for a period of three years, with an option to extend for a further one year.

Minutes:

The Director of Resources submitted a report seeking authority to procure and award a contract for the supply of temporary agency staff for a period of three years, with an option to extend for a further one year in accordance with the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

 

The report noted that the Council and Brighter Futures for Children spent a significant amount of money on temporary agency staff, in line with most Local Authorities, with expenditure falling from a peak of £14m in 2017/18 to a forecast of £10.5m in 2019/20.  Significant focus had been applied to increasing the number of permanent staff and reducing the numbers of temporary staff to a minimum, but the Council could not rely fully on permanent staffing as there were situations where the use of a temporary member of staff was the most effective or only way of covering a post.

 

The report explained that the Council currently operated a managed service provider model through a framework call off contract with Reed, which ran until February 2021, and that it was proposed to continue with a hybrid managed service provider model.  The new contract would be for three years with an option to extend by one year and total value over four years was approximately £40m based on current usage.

 

The report stated that the proposed procurement approach was to use the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) to access Managed Services for Temporary Agency Resources (MSTAR) 3, the leading temporary staff framework for Local Authorities.  This would involve running a ‘mini-competition’ to ensure best available rates were achieved with the solution tailored to the Council’s requirements.  It was expected that the re-tender of this contract would achieve additional savings of around £100k per year, which had been included in the Medium Term Financial Strategy.

 

Resolved –

 

          That the Executive Director of Resources, in consultation with the Lead Councillor for Corporate and Consumer Services, be authorised to procure and award a contract to provide temporary agency staff for an initial term of three years with an option to extend for a further one year under the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation Framework Agreement, Managed Services for Temporary Agency Resources (MSTAR).