The Committee considered the following report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues
1.1 The Council’s Physical Programme covers over 200 projects under a range of funding streams together with the projects which the Council delivers on behalf of external agencies. This report outlines a proposed movement under the Capital Programme together with a proposed realignment of BIF funding.
2.1 The Committee is requested to –
- agree to the inclusion of a new IT project under the council’s IT Programme due to business criticality– Enhanced, additional telephony licensing for telephony environment - and move to Stage 3 Committed with a maximum £80,000 budget allocated.
- Note the reduced scope of the Royal British Legion BIF proposal (from £500k to £300k) and to agree, in the absence of the West AWG, to reallocate £115,000 of this reduced scope towards two previously agreed LIF projects which have significant funding deficits (Berlin Swifts – additional £65,000 and St. James’s Farm – additional £50,000) in order to allow these projects to be fully delivered. Both projects are at/nearing contract award stage
3.0 Main report
Capital programme 2020/21 - Project movements
3.1 IT Programme – Additional licensing for telephony environment
Under the Council’s IT Programme of work, additional licensing for the telephony environment has been identified as being business critical and opportunity to ensure continuity of service provision. With almost all staff home working as a result of Covid 19, one of the key lessons learned from a business continuity perspective, is the need to extend and enhance telephony features for remote workers to allow operations to continue unhindered.
3.2 The Council is already in the process of upgrading the telephone system, as part of programme of work to improve the system in terms of resilience but also introduce enhanced features and services being delivered as part of the council’s extensive Customer Focus Programme. The go-live is expected in coming months. The new telephony system will allow contact centre and switchboard features to be made available remotely, but it requires further licensing for increased numbers of home workers. This will support a sustained period of home working / recovery plans and provide improved business continuity while overall recovery and continued service delivery management takes place. Members are asked to note that this is required to be undertaken now as part of the ongoing Customer Service Programme as this will save significant time and effort by procuring and applying the licenses in advance of the upgrade work already in motion.
3.3 Members are asked to agree that this project moves to Stage 3 Committed in order to expedite the necessary procurements and it is recommended that a maximum budget of £80,000 is allocated. The Director of Finance & Resources has confirmed the affordability of these projects due to the corporate criticality requirements and to ensure business continuity is maintained.
Area Working Groups - BIF realignment
Members will be aware that the Area Working Groups are currently not sitting due to the ongoing impact of Corona and associated resource impacts. All decisions regarding BIF and LIF allocations are normally taken via the AWGs with the resultant recommendations being brought into SP&R. However due to time pressures Members are being asked to consider and agree a proposed realignment of BIF/LIF funding from the West AWG.
The SP&R Committee has previously agreed an in principle allocation of £500,000 towards the Royal British Legion project (BIF29) in October 2016. Members will be aware that in the last round of the AWGs an update on all projects under LIF, BIF and SOF programmes was provided. It was agreed by each AWG that a letter would be issued to those groups where there had been no information or progress for some time. This included the Royal British Legion project. The Group subsequently confirmed that they wished to remain part of the Programme but with a reduced project scope to a maximum of £300,000. This would allow for a £200,000 reallocation which is below the minimum threshold for a BIF project.
There are two LIF projects within West which have previously been agreed by the SP&R Committee – WLIF2-08 Berlin Swifts (£65,000 agreed in September 2015) and WLIF02-10 St. James’s Community Farm (£82,000 agreed in October 2015). Since this time both projects have been worked up in detail and both have funding deficits (Berlin Swifts - £65k and St. James’s - £50k) due to a number of reasons including raising construction costs, unforeseen issues etc. Officers have worked very closely with both projects on trying to secure match funding but this has proved unsuccessful to date. This has meant that both projects have to be substantially value-engineered which is hampering their ability to be able to deliver on the full scope of the projects. With a reallocation of funding from the unrequired portion of the RBL project funding both projects could be delivered to their full scope. Members are asked to note that this is being brought forward now as both projects are at an advanced stage in terms of the tendering process. Members are therefore asked to agree the reallocation of an additional £65,000 towards the Berlin Swifts project and an additional £50,000 towards the St. James’s Community Forum project.
Members will note that this leaves a residual amount of £85,000 which will be brought back into the next West AWG for consideration in terms of reallocation. This is in other line with the other AWGs that have reallocations to consider.
3.10 Financial & Resource Implications
- IT Programme – Additional licensing for telephony environment, with maximum £80,000 budget allocation.
- West AWG – realignment of unrequired amount from BIF12 will allow two LIF projects to be fully delivered. These projects have both previously been considered by the AWG and recommended for funding and have been through the full due diligence process. This is not additional overall funding but is a reallocation.
Resources – Officer time to deliver as per project requirements.
3.11 Equality or Good Relations Implications/ Rural Needs Assessment
All capital projects are screened as part of the stage approval process.”
The Committee adopted the recommendations.