Agenda Item No: Report Title: Report To: Lead Councillor: Ward(s) Affected: Report By: Contact Officer(s): Purpose of Report:
Report No: Corporate Strategy and Council Priorities Grounds Maintenance - Efficiency Savings Review Cabinet Cllr EW Lee All Director of Finance & Community Services Owen Clifford, Community Services Manager Date: 24 November 2005
To propose to Cabinet opportunities for reducing the Parks Budget for 2006/2007 & 2007/2008 as part of the realignment of policies and the medium term Financial Strategy. Officers Recommendation(s): 1 That Cabinet accept the proposed ongoing budget reductions of £20,000 (£10,000 from April 2006 and a further £10,000 from April 2007) detailed in the report.
Reasons for Recommendations 1 In the Corporate Strategy and Council Priorities report approved by Cabinet in July 2005 a £20,000 reduction target from reprioritising service provision within the Grounds Maintenance Contract was identified. Officers were asked to report by November 2005 as to how this could be achieved.
Information 2 Background 2.1 Council has previously approved a three year plan that will by 31 March 2008 have realigned the Council's projected available resources with the agreed Policy Programme. As part of this exercise Cabinet approved in July 2005 a number of service areas where Lead Members had identified potential savings. The Grounds Maintenance budget was identified as one such area where officers were asked to review current service provision and to consider how reprioritising the contract focus might lead to a reduction in costs of £10,000 applicable from 1 April 2006 and a further £10,000 from 1 April 2007.
Identified Savings 3.1 The Leisure Management (outdoor) contract with Wyevales Grounds Maintenance Services was established on 1 March 2004 for a 10 year period with a mutual 5 year break clause. This grounds maintenance contract is the primary means by which more than 230 sites are managed within the district. It provides for the maintenance and upkeep of: 3.3 3.4 Play Areas Informal Open Spaces Recreation Grounds & Sports Pitches Cemeteries & Closed Churchyards Nature Reserves and Conservation Areas Miscellaneous sites (grass banks, verges etc.)
The contract is managed by the Parks Manager and his staff who oversee the day to day operation of the Contract by Wyevales. The Parks Manager devised the contract specification for each site. Within the contract there are certain annual works that are subject to annual confirmation in terms of design standards. This includes the provision of flower beds (winter and summer). The Parks Manager also allocates an annual works budget to cover periodic site renovation such as pitch improvement, fencing replacement etc. Wyevale are invited to quote for such works along with other approved contractors. Having reviewed the current contract specification and taking into account usage levels the following potential areas for change have been identified: Removal of Cricket Table at the Convent Field, Lewes with effect from April 2006 (this is rarely used and has been accepted by the users) saving £8,000 during 2006/07 Redesign but not reduction of winter bedding arrangements applicable from October 2006 - this will be an overall change in specification and not site specific saving £2,000 during 2006/07 Removal of Croquet Lawn at the Convent Field, Lewes with effect from April 2007 (decreasing use indicated by Wyevale) saving £4,000 during 2007/08 Balance of savings to be identified as a result of the Scrutiny Panel reviews of Outdoor Leisure and Council Land Ownership to be completed before April 2006 balance of savings of £6,000
There will be some residual costs associated with on-going maintenance of the specific sites above (Cricket Table and Croquet Lawn) both areas will however be managed to a much lesser standard without the need for fine turf maintenance. The residual costs have been included with the savings estimate. The Croquet Lawn is also considered a potential site to relocate a play area currently located adjacent to the Priory Remains as part of an agreement made when the Priory remains were devolved to Lewes Town Council. Achieving these combined savings will meet the agreed target of £20,000 by 31 March 2008.
Financial Impact 4.1 The recommendations within this report will result in a reduction of £10,000 in the Council's base budget for 2006/2007 and a further reduction of £10,000 in 2007/2008.
Environmental Implications I have completed the Environmental Implications Questionnaire and there are no significant effects as a result of these recommendations.
Risk Management Implications I have completed the Risk Management questionnaire and this report does not require a risk assessment because the changes/issues covered by the recommendations are not significant in terms of risk.
Background Papers None
John Magness Director of Finance & Community Services 3 November 2005