To consider and provide a recommendation to Cabinet on the proposals set out in the attached report.
Jane Fineman, Head of Finance, Procurement and Parking introduced the report set out in the agenda.
Discussion and questions from Members included the following:
- It was confirmed that 168 computers were purchased for Council staff.
- Because of lock down, there was a delay in purchasing computer equipment. There were approximately 340/350 staff in the Council, of which 168 had now received up to date equipment. The funding would provide equipment for the remaining staff.
- A survey was undertaken on the retaining wall at the Warwick Road car park. It was understood that the whole wall would have to be removed and they would have to dig quite a long way down in order to provide the necessary foundations that would be sufficient to hold back the soil.
- In addition, since the original survey was undertaken, increases in inflation and building works had increased the original cost of around £50k (2 years ago) to the present cost of around £156k.
- Further clarification on the reasons for the increase in cost was requested and it was agreed this would be reverted after the meeting.
- Following the meeting, additional information was provided as follows:
“The original budget in the capital application was an estimate and following a quote submitted by the Council’s Term Contractor (Cheesmur Building Contractors), the budget forecast requested in the Capital Management report for the works, was increased to £165,000. This now considers the outcome of an assessment of Party Wall Issues, structural, drainage and other associated surveys, liaison around Conservation Area limitations and necessary temporary works. The quotation we have had is for £135,000, we have already expended a further £15K on surveys and a further 10% has been set aside as contingency. Further quotes will be tendered for shortly.”
- Capital programmes continued to be deferred year after year. It would seem that the Council’s capacity to deliver Capital Programmes that were included in the budget were a lot less than predicted. This meant the Council were not being realistic about forecasting. There was a need to be more realistic about the Council’s ability to deliver.
RESOLVED – That the recommendations to Cabinet as set out in the report be supported.