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									     PURBECK DISTRICT COUNCIL - CAPITAL STRATEGY

1.   INTRODUCTION

     The purpose of the capital strategy is to provide the overall policy framework for capital investment
     from 2001 to 2006.

     It is based on the Council’s approved Corporate Strategy, translating it into the needs for capital
     investment. The Corporate Strategy has been approved by Council and is based on consultation
     carried out in 1997 and will be subject to further consultation during August/September 2001. The
     capital strategy also provides the links to the Council’s proposed asset management plan and
     medium term financial strategy.

     The capital strategy is based on the Council’s mission statement which is:

     “Consistent with financial prudence and resources available to the Council, to enhance the quality of
     life of the people of Purbeck whilst maintaining the District’s environment for future generations”.

     To support the mission statement the Council has developed a number of corporate objectives.
     These were tested by consultation in the Autumn of 2000 to ensure they reflect the priorities of the
     local community. The corporate objectives are:

                     to work within a sound financial strategy to deliver good quality and efficient services.

                     to be accessible to all local people and to listen and respond to their needs in the provision of
                      good value services.

                     to concentrate on the priority needs of local people having regard to the need to promote
                      both independence and equity of opportunity.

     and through the above

                     to maintain, in a sustainable manner, the quality of the District’s environment.

                     to encourage the development of a sustainable transport infrastructure.

                     to support the local economy through the provision of local employment and related training
                      opportunities.

                     to support the provision of quality social housing.

                     to help safeguard public health and community safety.

                     to support the provision of economically viable community facilities including opportunities for
                      sport and recreation.

     In addition the Council has values which underpin the way the corporate objectives are to be
     achieved. These are:

     1.               Quality: to aim for high quality service in all the Council’s activities and take pride in
                      delivering efficient services.

     2.               Participative Government: to provide effective, democratic, representative and participative
                      Government for the people of Purbeck.

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      3.               Partnership: to work co-operatively with all those - public sector, business and voluntary
                       bodies - whose activities and efforts contribute to the wellbeing of the area.

      4.               Personal responsibility and choice: to minimise the burden of local taxation consistent
                       with the above values and to work in ways which support and encourage individual
                       responsibility and choice.

2.    PRIORITIES FOR CAPITAL INVESTMENT

      The scale of the Council’s capital programme varies from one year to another depending upon the
      level of external resources attracted. However, it usually amounts to approximately £2m per
      annum. The Council’s key priorities for capital investment are based on the corporate objectives as
      detailed below:

2.1   Maintaining the Environment

      Purbeck is characterised by the quality of its natural and built environment, with 24% of its area
      designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, many of which also receive international
      protection. The southern part of the District is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
      and virtually all of the coastline has been promoted for designation as a World Heritage Site.

      The Council is committed to maintaining the quality of this environment, working in partnership with
      a variety of other public and private sector bodies through an Heritage Committee. The Council also
      works with Parish Councils to ensure that the more urban parts of the District also benefit from
      environmental improvement schemes.

2.2   Sustainable Transport Infrastructure

      The Council is working closely with rail operators through the Purbeck Rail Partnership to secure the
      reopening of the rail link between Wareham and Swanage. This, together with a park and ride
      scheme which is being extended at Norden, will reduce the number of car journeys, thereby helping
      to maintain the environment whilst accommodating visitors to the area. Furthermore, commuter
      travel into the neighbouring conurbation of Poole and Bournemouth will be facilitated.

2.3   The Local Economy

      The Council’s work in maintaining the environment and promoting improvements in the transport
      infrastructure also benefit the local economy, which is heavily dependent on tourism and, if
      unchecked could lead to congestion and environmental damage. The Council is also committed to
      ensuring broader employment opportunities are available in the District. Industrial and starter units
      are made available, often in partnership with other agencies, to help local people move away from
      the low wage and seasonal work associated with the tourism industry.

2.4   Housing

      The Council is currently considering the advantages and disadvantages to its tenants and itself of
      changing the ownership and/or the management of its housing stock. In the meantime, significant
      capital resources are devoted to the improvement and refurbishment of its housing. The Council
      also works in partnership with a large number of registered social landlords to ensure that new
      social housing is provided for local people with a range of special needs. These schemes are often
      developed in liaison with Social Services at the County Council.

      The Council’s work with people with special housing needs is not restricted to social housing. The
      Council has an extensive programme for providing Disabled Facility Grants in private sector
      accommodation. It also provides grants to improve the energy efficiency of homes via insulation
      and replacement boilers, thereby reducing the production of green-house gases in energy
      production. Again, this work is carried out in partnership with other agencies and the private sector.
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2.5   Public Health and Safety

      The Council’s capital expenditure within this area has been largely aimed at flood defence and
      coastal protection schemes. The Council’s objective has been to work with other authorities and
      agencies and with DEFRA to ensure that clear strategies are in place and implemented focusing on
      a managed retreat or viable sea defence as appropriate.

      In 2000/01 the Council completed a Best Value review of a range of services, including the provision
      and management of public conveniences. Public consultation as part of this review demonstrated
      that the public conveniences were in need of significant refurbishment to refresh the facilities and to
      comply with the Disability Discrimination Act. As a result the Council has embarked on a
      programme of refurbishment. Investment is also being directed at the Council’s offices and sports
      facilities to ensure that they are also fully accessible to disabled people.

2.6   Community Facilities

      The Council uses its capital resources to promote the provision of village halls, to act as the social
      heart of a village, by making grants available, in co-operation with the County Council. In addition,
      significant investment is being made in the Council’s Sports Centre in partnership with the Lottery
      Commission, Sport England, the County Council and the private sector. The Sports Centre also
      works with local GPs and the Heath Authority by taking part in the exercise referral project.

3.    WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP

      The Council’s capital strategy emphasises the need to work in partnership with others. The partners
      vary depending upon the nature of the various capital projects. Importantly, the partners are not
      restricted to funding partners. The main partners involved in the principal areas of capital
      investment are detailed in the paragraphs which follow.

      Schemes concerned with sustaining the environment, transport and tourism are promoted with the
      Purbeck Heritage Committee. This joint forum, sponsored by the District Council, includes
      representatives from a wide range of stakeholders:

        Dorset County Council                                               Country Landowners Association
        Association of Parish and Town Councils                             National Farmers Union
        National Trust                                                      Environment Agency
        Countryside Agency                                                  South West Regional Development Agency
        English Nature                                                      Poole Harbour Commissioners
        Southern Tourist Board                                              Ministry of Defence
        Tourist Industry

      The Heritage Committee works closely with the Purbeck Forum, which provides an opportunity for a
      wide range of bodies to contribute their ideas and support to the Heritage Committee. It involves
      Parish Councils, major landowners, voluntary, conservation, tourism and leisure organisations, local
      employers and other interested groups. One successful initiative is the Wareham Ahead
      Partnership, responsible for regenerating the environment and economy of Wareham.

      Several other regeneration and economic development schemes are being developed in partnership
      with a wide range of organisations including the South West Regional Development Agency,
      Countryside Agency, County Council and Town or Parish Councils. Examples include the Swanage
      Seafront Improvement Scheme, Upton Town Centre Enhancement Scheme, Norden park and ride
      and the conversion of Rempstone Barns to provide business units.




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     In the area of housing, the Council has an excellent record of working in partnership with regional
     and local housing associations to provide homes for local people. Regular liaison meetings are held
     with individual housing associations to facilitate scheme development. Proposed developments are
     discussed in detail with housing associations and prioritised according to a range of criteria,
     including:

                     Meeting Purbeck’s identified housing needs
                     Providing value for money
                     Assisting with particular problems such as under-occupation
                     Affordable rent levels.

     Once developments are completed, the Council continues to liaise closely with the housing
     association on lettings and management issues.

     The Council also works through the Purbeck Community Housing Group to discuss a wide range of
     housing issues. This Group includes housing associations other registered social landlords, tenant
     representatives, estate agents, private landlords, social services and parish councillors as well as
     District Councillors and housing staff. This Group has developed as the Council’s consultative
     group for a range of government initiatives concerning supporting people, homelessness and best
     value for housing.

     The tenants representatives form a link to the Council’s vibrant Tenants’ Panel. The Panel takes
     many decisions associated with the operational management of the housing stock, since the
     modernisation of the political decision-making process at the Council deleted the Housing
     Committee. Importantly the Tenants’ Panel is involved in identifying proposed schemes for the
     housing stock, for approval by the Council’s Policy Group and, ultimately, Council.

     In the field of sports, partnership working is focused on the County Council and Sport England. This
     partnership aims to develop the Council’s only sports centre, which is a dual use facility. This
     ensures that local residents gain the maximum value from the investment in local sports facilities.

4.   CAPITAL PLANNING

     The Council receives credit approvals amounting to approximately £600,000 per annum. These
     resources are supplemented by contributions from partners for specific schemes, government
     grants, the Major Repairs Allowance and contributions from reserves, bringing the programme to
     £2.2m in 2001/02 as shown below:

           Nature of Scheme                                            £000
           Environmental maintenance                                     174
           Housing                                                     1,668
           Public health and safety                                      125
           Community facilities                                          118
           IT and other assets                                            74
             Total                                                     2,159

     The Council is starting to work with the private sector to secure the use of privately owned assets.
     To date this has not encompassed an involvement in the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). The
     minimum size of scheme suitable for the PFI is in excess of £1m, for the professional fees to be
     reasonable. This threshold is too high for Purbeck’s schemes but the Council may become involved
     if/when it reduces to £0.25m.

     Over the last couple of years the Council has extended its capital planning horizon to formulate a
     rolling five year capital programme and it is customary for this to include the revenue implications of
     capital schemes. The capital programme is approved by Council following the process indicated
     below:



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     Corporate Strategy
     (agreed by Policy Group and approved by Council)




     Service Strategies
     (eg housing, heritage, IT)
     Identify projects



                                                                       Corporate Management Team
     Projects Included in                                              considers projects, resources,
     Service Plans                                                     value for money




     Service Improvement Group                                         Policy Group identifies priorities
     approves Service Plans




                                                                       Council approves programme

     Service managers identify needs by reference to:

     -       the corporate strategies and appropriate service strategies.
     -       the best value performance plan and their service plans.
     -       asset management plan.

     The Corporate Management Team of Chief Officers and senior Members makes recommendations
     to the Policy Group on corporate priorities, having regard to:

     -       the availability of resources, including external funding.
     -       the importance of the proposal to the achievement of the Corporate Strategy.
     -       the extent of community and partnership support.
     -       the revenue implications.
     -       value for money of the proposal.

     In addition, the investment in capital assets, such as IT requires a full business case justification
     using discounted cash flow or payback investment appraisal techniques.

5.   MONITORING AND EVALUATION

     The Council’s Scrutiny and Review Group of Members is responsible for the monitoring of capital
     projects. This responsibility has been piloted for housing schemes over the last twelve months.
     Due to its success the remit has been extended to all of the programme.

     The monitoring is based on regular progress reports on schemes included in the programme.
     Quarterly reports is considered appropriate given the size of the programme. The monitoring
     reports detail:

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                     the stage the scheme has reached;
                     the total expected cost;
                     comments on the progress;
                     expected completion date.

     The completion of post implementation evaluations are being considered, particularly for the more
     complex schemes. These would allow the Council to consider the extent to which a scheme
     achieves its proposed outcomes and learn from its implementation. It would allow the Council to
     identify the reasons for any slippage and gain assurance on the total cost of the project, both
     revenue and capital. Post implementation evaluations would, again, be reported to the Scrutiny and
     Review Group.

     The national performance indicators for property management are being adopted. These will be
     supplemented by other indicators developed as part of the best value process.

6.   CONSULTATION

     Extensive consultation takes place with a range of stakeholders as schemes are identified for
     inclusion in the capital programme particularly with housing and environmental schemes. Similarly,
     consultation takes place as the Council’s strategies are developed, thereby identifying service
     objectives to be achieved by capital investment.

     Over the summer the Council proposes to consult widely on its revised Corporate Strategy. The
     opportunity will be taken to consult on the nature of the capital strategy and the priorities shown in
     the capital programme.

     Specific consultation exercises as part of best value reviews are also used to influence the capital
     programme. This is demonstrated by the development of a public convenience refurbishment plan.

7.   LINKS TO OTHER STRATEGIES

     The capital strategy is broadly based on the approved Corporate Strategy. Its priorities are largely
     driven by both the Housing Investment Programme and the Heritage Strategy. The emerging
     electronic government strategy will also affect the strategy in future.

     The Performance Plan and best value reviews also have an important influence on the capital
     strategy. Similarly, individual service plans and strategies including the Economic Development
     Strategy and the Agenda 21 Strategy have an influence.

8.   ASSET MANAGEMENT PLANS

     An asset management plan is being developed to encompass the management of all of the
     Council’s capital assets. The asset management plan will be based on the current capital asset
     register. The number of assets held by the Council is relatively small due to the Council’s normal
     practice of only retaining operational assets with surplus assets disposed of to provide further
     capital finance. This practice is expected to continue in the future.

     The management of capital programmes and assets will be subject to best value reviews in 2001/02
     and 2002/03. The best value reviews will be reported to the Service Improvement Group of
     Members. This Member forum is responsible for the overall management of the programme of
     service reviews.




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