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Executive Decision - Executive Member for Lifelong Learning

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					                           EXECUTIVE DECISION NOTICE 



SERVICE AREA:             COMMUNITY SERVICES
                          Cultural and Customer Services

SUBJECT MATTER:           ARCHAEOLOGY CONTRACTS

DECISION:                 (1)     That the Council is no longer prepared to enter into a
                                  five year agreement with Salford University for the
                                  provision of Archaeological Services.
                          (2)     That two consultancy contracts for support in
                                  managing the contract are ended, one immediately
                                  and the other as soon as may be terminated in
                                  accordance with the agreement.
                          (3)     That work on the Buckton Castle projectbe completed
                                  by the commissioning of a report at a cost of £4,400
                                  above the £15,600 already spent.
                          (4)     That the Graveyard Project is not commissioned.

DECISION TAKER(S):        Cllr Gerald P Cooney

DESIGNATION OF            Executive Member for Lifelong Learning
DECISION TAKER(S):

DATE OF DECISION:         13th August 2010

REASON FOR DECISION:      The Council made an Executive Decision to offer a contract
                          to University of Salford Centre of Applied Archaeology (CfAA)
                          to complete the five year programme of the Tameside
                          Archaeology Survey in February 2010.
                          The contract was returned by the University of Salford to the
                          Council in May 2010 with many alterations to the conditions
                          of contract. The changes were significant enough to require a
                          new Executive Decision to be made in order to commission
                          this work. However in light of the current government budget
                          reviews and efficiency savings it appears prudent to not offer
                          a new contract and halt any current consultancy and project
                          work undertaken by the University of Salford.

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS       If Archaeological work and research is required then this work
REJECTED (if any):        can be tendered to a range of contractors in this field,
                          including the University of Salford.

CONSULTEES:               University of Salford

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:   The annual budget for the Archeological Unit is £65,490. In
                          addition to the general budget, in 2010/2011 there is one off
(Authorised by Borough    budget provision to support the Buckton Castle project
Treasurer)                £20,000 and the Graveyard survey project £25,000. The total
                          2010/2011 budget provision is £110,490.        The proposal
                          commits the £20,000 Buckton Castle project. The proposal
                          also commits £20,250 in relation to consultancy contracts,
                          potentially less, dependant on legal implications and
                          termination of current arrangements. Following the budget
                          announcements made in June, all areas of spend are
                          currently being reviewed, this decision would avoid
                             commitment of longer term discretionary spend during this
                             period of review.

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS:          The contractual position is set out in the report, which is that
                             the Council does not have a long term commitment to the
(Authorised by Borough       University. Having consulted the effected parties and taken
Solicitor)                   their comments into account it is lawful to withdraw the
                             proposal.
                             Termination of the contract would assist the Council to deliver
                             its statutory duty to achieve a balanced budget, although
                             clearly there are other ways to achieve a balanced budget
                             and it is for Councillors to determine the most appropriate
                             way to achieve this.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST:        None

DISPENSATION GRANTED         Not Applicable
BY STANDARDS
COMMITTEE ATTACHED:

REFERENCE DOCUMENTS:         The following background papers have been used in the
                             preparation of this report and can be inspected by contacting
                             Emma Varnam, Service Unit Manager (Museums and
                             Galleries Service) on 0161-343 -2878
                             1.   Tameside Archaeological Survey Contract
                             2.   Tameside Archaeological Survey - Progress Reports




        di... f~il.2~ . . . .
Signed ..                                            Dated ..   .1..3...~.7:j~............ 

Cllr Gerald P Cooney - Cabinet Deputy for Lifelong Learning
                              EXECUTIVE DECISION REPORT 



SERVICE AREA:                 COMMUNITY SERVICES
                              Cultural and Customer Services

SUBJECT MATTER:               ARCHAEOLOGY CONTRACTS

DATE OF DECISION:             13th August 2010

DECISION TAKER                Cllr Gerald P Cooney - Executive Member for Lifelong Learning

REPORTING OFFICER:            Adam Allen - Assistant Executive Director (Cultural and Customer
                              Services)

REPORT SUMMARY:               The report explains to requirement to withdraw the Archaeological
                              Contract offer from the University of Salford and the cessation of any
                              running project and services currently provided by the Centre of
                              Applied Archaeology (CfM).

RECOMMENDATIONS:              (1) 	   That the Council is no longer prepared to enter into a five
                                      year agreement with Salford University for the provision of
                                      Archaeological Services.
                              (2) 	   That two consultancy contracts for support in managing the
                                      contract are ended, one immediately and the other as soon
                                      as may be terminated in accordance with the agreement.
                              (3) 	   That work on the Buckton Castle project be completed by the
                                      commissioning of a report at a cost of £4,400 above the
                                      £15,600 already spent.
                              (4) 	   That the Graveyard Project is not commissioned.

JUSTIFICATION FOR             The cancelling of these areas of work will provide a significant saving
DECISION:                     to the Council. Although the work is of value, overall the impact of
                              withdrawal on the public and the council is Significantly lower than
                              would be the case with other services which may otherwise have to
                              be reduced or withdrawn given the Council's current financial
                              position.

ALTERNATIVE        OPTIONS    If Archaeological work and research is required then this work can
REJECTED (if any):            be tendered to a range of contractors in this field, including the
                              University of Salford.

CONSULTEES:                   University of Salford.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:       The annual budget for the Archeological Unit is £65,490. In addition
                              to the general budget, in 2010/2011 there is one off budget provision
(Authorised   by    Borough
                              to support the Buckton Castle project £20,000 and the Graveyard
Treasurer)
                              survey project £25,000. The total 2010/2011 budget provision is
                              £110,490. The proposal commits the £20,000 Bucklon Castle
                              project.    The proposal also commits £20,250 in relation to
                              consultancy contracts, potentially less, dependant on legal
                              implications and termination of current arrangements. Following the
                              budget announcements made in June, all areas of spend are
                              currently being reviewed, this decision would avoid commitment of
                              longer term discretionary spend during this period of review.
LEGAL IMPLICATIONS:          The contractual position is set out in the report, which is that the
                             Council does not have a long term commitment to the University.
(Authorised   by   Borough
                             Having consulted the effected parties and taken their comments into
Solicitor)
                             account it is lawful to withdraw the proposal.
                             Termination of the contract would assist the Council to deliver its
                             statutory duty to achieve a balanced budget, although clearly there
                             are other ways to achieve a balanced budget and it is for Councillors
                             to determine the most appropriate way to achieve this.

RISK MANAGEMENT: 
           Reducing spend on this contract would substantially reduce the
                             amount of work undertaken in Tameside. This would have some
                             impact on the cultural service provided by the Council. We can
                             manage this by purchasing archaeological services on a one-off
                             basis where required.
                             Reversal from the previous decision to offer a contract could damage
                             our relationship with the University of Salford. However, we have
                             consulted the University on the proposal and this has not drawn and
                             adverse comment from the University.

LINKS TO COMMUNITY PLAN: 
 Supportive Tameside
                             The Council aims to increase the amount of volunteering
                             opportunities across the borough.
                             Promote more inclusive communities through more cultural events
                             and activities to bring residents together from different communities
                             to share common interests
                             Maximise the opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds
                             to partiCipate in cultural events and positive activities.
                             Learning Tameside
                             Improve literacy and innumeracy amongst our residents.
                             Support people to access higher level skills training.
                             Attractive Tameside
                             Continue to raise awareness of the environment to develop a shared
                             commitment to improving the attractiveness and environmental
                             diversity of the borough.
                             Develop Tameside's heritage to ensure a sense of pride and place.
                             This decision will promote these aims in the sense that provision is
                             being withdrawn, but in the current financial climate the Council must
                             review its services and focus on its resources on those service which
                             best able overall delivery of these aims. If this service is not cut then
                             other services will face larger cuts. Volunteering opportunities and
                             cultural events are not the primary focus of this service and these
                             benefits can be provided at lower cost elsewhere.

REFERENCE DOCUMENTS: 
       The following background papers have been used in the preparation
                             of this report and can be inspected by contacting Emma Varnam,
                             Service Unit Manager (Museums and Galleries Service) on 0161 343
                             2878
                             I.     Tameside Archaeology Survey Contract
                             2.     Buckton Castle Project outline
                             3.     Graveyard Survey Project outline
1. 	    Background

1.1 	   The Council has for many years had a contract for archaeological services. Until 2009 the
        contract was with the University of Manchester. In summer 2009 the University closed its centre
        and most staff working on the contract transferred. to the Centre of Applied Archaeology at the
        University of Salford. The contract with the University of Manchester was terminated by mutual
        agreement.

1.2 	   In February 2010 an Executive Decision was taken to award a replacement contract to the
        University of Salford.

1.3 	   The form of contract was appended to the Executive Decision Report. The total value of the
        contract over the next five years was to have been £229,020. In addition there are two
        consultancy contracts worth £10,125 per annum. These contracts are with independent
        contractors commissioned by the Council to oversee the work of the Unit. This funding would
        see provision of:
        *	     field and community archaeology in Tameside
        *	     archaeological publications and research
        *	     running of the Family History Research Centre based at the Setantii Centre in Ashton
               under Lyne.

1.3 	   The contract was sent to Salford University for signature in March and was returned on 21 May
        2010. However, the returned contract contains a number of alterations, including

        • 	 The Unit has asked for guaranteed inflation increases of a minimum of 2.5% each year (but
            more if inflation is higher), whereas the Council wished to set out now what the payments
            throughout the term would be.
        • 	 the work programme has been significantly altered from that proposed by the Council
        • 	 technical amendments to the standard clause setting out the Council's usual insurance
            requirements recommended by the Borough Treasurer
        • 	 amendments to the Council's standard contractual requirements on equalities and FOI
        • 	 refusal to give an indemnity to the Council
        • 	 introduction of a requirement for the Council to give us an indemnity.
        • 	 they want to be able to assign the contract elsewhere (subject to our agreement)

1.5 	   To accept these variations, a new Executive Decision would be required. Ordinarily we would
        seek to negotiate on these changes and seek to report back to the Executive Member on a 'best
        achievable deal'. However, we have not sought to negotiate, although acceptance of the
        proposed changes outlined above is not recommended.

1.6 	   Since the original Executive Decision was taken the national government has announced a very
        significant reduction in public spending. At the Emergency Budget it was stated that funding
        would be cut in real terms by 25% across the public sector over the next four years. Whilst it is
        not possible to know the exact financial impact on the Council it is immediately apparent that the
        Council will need to make very significant savings. The Council is therefore having to review all
        its spending. A new Cultural offer is being shaped within the Council at much lower cost and the
        restructure will ensure that cultural activity will be targeted with specific outcomes for the
        community. The archaeological survey does not fit within this criteria and the saving made by
        halting this project can be redistributed to more front-line services.

1.7 	   The current legal position is that there is no contract unless there is an offer and acceptance.
        The University's proposal for the parties to agree a different form of contract constitutes a counter
        offer and our original offer is destroyed. Legally this allows the Council to not proceed with the
        contract and use the savings to contribute to the authority's efficiency savings. We have told the
        University not to undertake work. We have invited them to make comments to us about the
        future of the contract and they have not formally responded although a meeting between the
        Centre and Council Officers has taken place.
2.0 	   Consequences of terminating the Archaeological Contract

2.1 	   All Council funded archaeological research on Tameside would cease. However, the Council
        would still of course be able to purchase one off pieces of work if it so required.

2.2 	   The Family History Centre would cease to be provided. However, the Centre does not have
        dedicated information resources, its main services are to provide support to people researching
        family history and showing them how to exploit resources held by the council or elsewhere. Two
        computers are provided in order to access online resources. Similar support could be provided at
        Tameside Central Library by the Local Studies and Archives Centre, although this would not be a
        dedicated resource and would not be such an intense service.

2.3 	   The Council has a strong working relationship with Salford University. Clearly the University will
        be disappointed if this contract is withdrawn although they have not sought to make specific
        representations to the Council in response to our request for this. It is possible that relationships
        with the University will be affected if the Council withdraws from its engagement with
        archaeological services. However, this has to be balanced against the Council's overall financial
        position and the pressing need to reduce expenditure.


3.0 	   Additional Contracts with Salford University Archaeology Department

3.1 	   The Council was planning to commission a Buckton Castle Excavation Project at a total cost of
        £20,000. This work has not been formally commissioned but the Unit have started work. We
        have now asked the Unit to stop work pending the review of all spending on the Archaeological
        Contract. This project has already started and the majority of the work completed. The project
        could be stopped at this point. It is estimated that the value of the work undertaken so far is
        £15,600 and it would cost a further £4,400 to complete the work and produce the final report. It
        seems prudent to allow this project to be completed but not commission the planned book which
        was due to be written following the excavation at a cost of £8,300.

3.2 	   The Council had also planned to commission a Graveyard Survey Project. This was anticipated
        to cost £25,000 per annum over financial years 2010-11 and 2011-12.


4.0 	   Conclusion

4.1 	   The current budget scenario planning in relation to Cultural and Customer Services, shows in the
        region of £3.3 million of efficiency savings needing to be found from within the current budget by
        2013/2014. The saving accrued through can be ploughed back into front-line services.

4.2 	   It is not considered economically viable to enter into a large contract such as the archaeological
        programme. This would commit the Council to high expenditure over the coming five years and
        would provide limited value when compared with the protection and delivery of front line services.


5.0 	   Recommendations

5.1 	   That the Council is no longer prepared to enter into a five year agreement with Salford University.

5.2 	   That two consultancy contracts for support in managing the contract are ended, one immediately
        and the other as soon as is legally possible.

5.3 	   That the Buckton Castle project be completed and the final report produced on the archaeological
        dig. The proposed book on Bucklon Castle is not commissioned.

5.4 	   That the Graveyard Project is not commissioned.

				
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