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Delivery directorate quarterly service report - where we are now

Director's overview

The Democratic and Registration Service has again, similar to quarter 1, dominated the focus of the directorate. This team has successfully delivered a fourth election this year with the December General Election. This required a remobilisation of the council’s arrangements, with very short notice. Therefore, the team should be commended for yet again, delivering a smooth and well-run programme of work, that allowed the council to declare its result well in advance of neighbouring authorities.

In addition to this unexpected election, the team has been working with Members to deliver the council’s submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE). The team has worked to address the questions from the commission, resulting from our return. We have now received confirmation that this phase of the work has concluded successfully, allowing the work to move on to the ward patterning phase.

Environmental Services, last quarter, completed a number of service changes, increasing the efficiency of the doorstep service to residents. This coupled with waste tonnages, thus far, being below that projected in the budget, has yielded a one-off current account saving. Given the current declared service pressure in this area, these funds and additional income from quarter 2, has gone some way to addressing this pressure.

Bracknell Leisure Centre’s external works have been completed. The building has a new fresh façade with clear council branding dominating the building and illuminated signage. Programmes of work will continue at the site, as part of the council’s ownership of the site. Performance of our service management contractor, Everyone Active, has been good, with their development plans reviewed and endorsed by the Environment, Culture and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel in September 2019.

The Transformation project of our 9 libraries has been completed and the work has been transferred to the library management to complete the roll out of Open+. Currently 5 out of the 9 sites have implemented the change. The 4 sites that haven’t completed the change are awaiting replacement doors. This work has been programmed in by the Property Service. In terms of service delivery at the sites, the service had great success with the Summer Reading Challenge. The service achieved the highest proportion, in the region, of children who completed the challenge (75% of Bracknell Forest children, compared with 56% across the south-east).

In the area of information governance, the council was inspected by the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office (IPCO). The Commissioner has responsibility for reviewing the use of investigatory powers by public authorities. The outcome of the inspection was positive, in that the council was found to have appropriate policies and practices for discharging our duties. A positive piece of feedback was the innovative eLearning package which over 100 council staff had undertaken in the quarter, demonstrating the council’s commitment to strong governance in this area of work.

Highlights and remedial action

Good performance

Contract Services

Bracknell Leisure Centre external refurbishment works completed.

Preparations completed in Environmental Services for Christmas and New Year waste and recycling collections.

Completed tenders for the enforcement and car parking management contract received and evaluation started.

Customer Experience and IT Services

Libraries transformation continues.

Digital Services have started training on the functionality of the automation application.

IT have completed the transition of all email accounts to the Office 365 cloud environment.

Democratic and Registration Services

The Parliamentary General Election was delivered on 12 December.

The council submitted its proposal to the Local Boundary Commission for England for a future council size of 40 councillors, 2 fewer than the current arrangements, which will come into effect at the 2023 council elections. The Commission will announce its decision on the future council size in the New Year.

Transition to new Overview and Scrutiny arrangements agreed at full council.

Delivered the ballot for the Business Improvement District (BID) on 3 October with a positive result.

Legal Services

Establishment of new management structure.

£18,416.84 Debt Recovered and Banked.

£8,536 S106 income generated.

£30,188 income generated on non S106 activity.

Nine S106 agreements completed.

Filming licence with Disney relating to filming at Easthampstead House generating £20k income (of which £3k legal fees).

Completion of Martins Heron and the Warren Community Centre full repairing lease to Winkfield Parish Council (running to 2064 to tie in with the council's own lease that it has from Tesco).

Property Services

London Road Landfill site – Secured funding from Homes England to fund the further surveys through Peter Brett Associates to a limit of £165k.

Commercial Centre (The Depot) - A feasibility study to redevelopment project has now started to seek viable solution to create a facility fit for purpose and the 21st century operational needs.

Property Services are supporting the council’s ambitions of a joint venture property vehicle which is proceeding through an OJEU process which will then be subject to a Member decision.

Budget and savings delivered for 2019/20

The approved Delivery cash budget for 2019/20 was £18.950m which included economies of £-1.123m, pressures of £0.768m and commitments of £-0.316m.

Work was undertaken during the summer to identify efficiency savings for the 2020/21 budget to ensure a balance budget position. Work is underway to prepare for the loading of the 20/21 budgets at the end of January 2020.

Other areas of note and significant activity to come in the next quarter

The details of the new contractor to provide Building Maintenance and Repairs Services contract to provide a 24-hour Maintenance and Reactive Repair Services to the council premises (including schools) to be announced.

Property sale – Commercial unit at Waterside Park to Bracknell Islamic Community Society (BICS) – sale is contingent on planning permission, we are expecting their planning application and supporting documentation to be submitted by the end of January 2020.

Property to start the tender process to procure a new tenant for Harmans Water Community Centre.

Customer services will be redesigning the reception processes at Time Square to enable more self-service.

IT will be moving the first applications to the Microsoft Azure cloud environment and implementing SharePoint as the corporate Electronic Document and Records Management System.

Digital Services will be working with Croydon, Oxford City and Brighton & Hove councils to establish the feasibility of developing and sharing a single Drupal platform for local government websites.

We will be implementing the automation of our first processes, to establish the usability of the automation platform we’ve purchased.

The Executive will make a decision whether to reduce Bracknell Forest Borough’s impact on Climate Change by introducing a food waste collection service in the Autumn of 2020.

The evaluation of the enforcement and car parking management contract tenders will be completed.

Overview and Scrutiny will provide pre-decision scrutiny feeding into an Executive decision which will focus on site options that could be used to provide additional burial space within the Borough.

Overview and Scrutiny will undertake a review of the impact of accommodation and support on the educational attainment and skills of young people leaving care.

The council will be assessed for re-accreditation against the Charter+ framework for Member Learning and Development.

The second stage of the electoral review will start to re-draw ward boundaries across the area.

Audits and risks

During quarter 3, a follow up audit was undertaken on car park management and one major recommendation was raised again on income reconciliation.

The Delivery risk register was reviewed by DMT on 17 December 2019. The only key change was to reduce the risk on adequacy of control given progress found at most audit to follow up the limited opinions given in 2018/19.