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Blueschool House - Will Heads Roll?


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#1 Aylestone Voice

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Posted 20 July 2017

What a shambles - of course it is only our money. 

Blueschool House was after all a perfectly useable building for the previous occupants - if slightly shabby. Now it seems it will be a monument to muddled thinking, poor decision making and failure

 

 

http://councillors.h...dget Update.pdf


Edited by Aylestone Voice, 20 July 2017 .

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#2 bobby47

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Posted 20 July 2017

Will heads roll? As one of the few bright, intelligent and articulate thinkers on this forum that's become a place of safety for me and all the other bottom feeding dregs of the blogging community who can barely string a coherent thought together and transmit it in a sane way, I'm bloody surprised you my friend have asked the question, will heads roll.
They'll never roll. Never have and never bloody will. In fact, rather than leaving a bit of blood on the soon to be replaced carpets of this second monument to fiscal stupidity, more than likely some yellow bellied slow thinking tw.at will be celebrated and rewarded with something that moreorless says, 'thanks a fu.ck.ing lot pal'.
Heads will roll? No bloody chance. There's more chance of me renewing my marital vows in Gods Church to the music of Paper Lace's 'Billy Don't Be A Hero' or shacking up with bloody Kerry Katona than there is of one single head rolling as punishment for this fu.cked up mess that's been created by this gathering of incompetent bungling idiots.
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#3 Aylestone Voice

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Posted 20 July 2017

I do like the way the doubling of the cost of the scheme is referred to in the report as "a number of weaknesses in cost planning for and monitoring of property related capital projects"

 

Bobby  you are correct - it will be just swept aside and nobody will have to account for this mess


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#4 Denise Lloyd

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Posted 20 July 2017

No doubt a scape goat will be selected and then the heads that should roll will carry on floundering in the dirt and darkness that they wallow in 


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#5 megilleland

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Posted 20 July 2017

Extracts from the Agenda

Cabinet
Thursday 27 July 2017 2.00 pm


Meeting: Cabinet
Meeting date: 27 July 2017  
Title of report: Joint customer services hub – budget update
Report by: Chief finance officer
 
Purpose

To approve an increase in capital expenditure to deliver a joint customer services hub at Blueschool House.  

Recommendation(s)

THAT:  (a) £50k be allocated from the ICT revenue reserve to provide sufficient ICT equipment at Blueschool House; (b) £200k be allocated from the earmarked economy, communities and corporate revenue reserve to support the increased costs; © having regard to the continued revenue benefits identified in the revised business case, a further £720k be approved to deliver a joint customer services hub at Blueschool House, bringing the total estimated cost to £1.92m; (d) the audit and governance committee be asked to identify and recommend improvement actions to strengthen property capital project management and control.

Reasons for recommendations
3 On 2 June 2016, the cabinet member contracts and assets approved the establishment of a joint customer services hub at Blueschool House in Hereford. The project involved DWP co-locating with council staff, generating a revenue income for the council resulting in a reduction in the net premises costs for the council.

4 As investigative and refurbishment works have progressed it has become apparent that the original capital estimate for the project is insufficient to deliver the full scope of requirements. Value engineering exercises are ongoing to ensure best value is achieved, however the current project estimates total £1.92m (an increase of £970k relative to the original estimate).

Legal implications
18 The council has entered into an implied contract, with price and specification agreed, to refurbish Blueschool House with a contractor procured under an EU compliant framework agreement. Although the contract has not been signed in writing, a contract has been formed. If the council were to terminate the contract upon reasonable notice the council would be liable to pay costs incurred to date. Deciding whether to continue or terminate the contract should depend on whether best value can be achieved.

20 The proposed cladding is not the same as that used on Grenfell Tower, however the inquiry into the tragedy may alter national regulations regarding cladding. This could have a future impact upon the premises.

Consultees
22 The ward member, Councillor Polly Andrews, has been consulted and is supportive of referral to audit and governance committee. The views of political groups were sought but no comments were received.


Edited by megilleland, 20 July 2017 .

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#6 twowheelsgood

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Posted 20 July 2017

I've skimmed through this - it appears as if history is being re-written in terms of original costs and who was paying for what. The lions share (£700k) of the original £950k was to be paid by the DWP, the Council paying £250k. This is now being presented as the DWP paying £400k and the Council paying  the balance (£1.52m). So, we're hobbled with a six fold increase! The scheme was universally slated at the planning committee as mediocre at best, yet councillors voted in favour on the basis that it was too good a deal to let go. Not looking so good now is it? I also note that the building contract has not been signed! Another potentially catastrophic oversight. An incredible shambles yet no one in opposition seems remotely interested. At the same time, the Council has the audacity to ask us how they might save £10m over the next two years ...

 

As an aside, the original drawings were clearly wrong, which I flagged up in my planning objection, ignored of course. Take a look at the boundary with City Electrics - known in the trade as a lash up, as there isn't space to take the cladding right around as proposed, which I did point out.


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#7 twowheelsgood

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Posted 20 July 2017

  1. The variances between the original cost plan and current indicative outturn include:

    • -  Fees and furnishings had not been included in the original decision;

    • -  Extra roofing costs over the original allowance;

    • -  Fireproofing of all existing steelwork once exposed;

    • -  Locating plant in ground area compound as opposed to roof;

    • -  Landscaping and drainage works and DDA requirements;

    • -  Small amount of asbestos discovered.

 

I've spent 40 years as a construction professional and can state that all of the above should have been recognised and allowed for in the original tendering process. Inconceivable that they haven't. I question how they total the best part of £1m and what fees are being paid to whom and how they have allowed such a shambolic management of our money. The report avoids confirming the procurement process and how the (informal) contract is being run and by whom. The whole thing stinks and will be brushed under the carpet with a shrug and a smirk. The contractors will also walk away with a very big grin. 


Edited by twowheelsgood, 20 July 2017 .

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#8 Pete Boggs

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Posted 20 July 2017

I also note that the building contract has not been signed! Another potentially catastrophic oversight. An incredible shambles yet no one in opposition seems remotely interested. At the same time, the Council has the audacity to ask us how they might save £10m over the next two years ...

 

Not unknown at Hereford - there was never a signed contract for the consultants brought in to revamp the Butter Market.  Cue lots of aggro when the Council decided it didn't want to go ahead.

 

I'm told that one of the officers in the estates department who was responsible for the new records office contract is often to be found in a semi-alcoholic coma of an afternoon. Perhaps he dreamed up this latest fiasco in one of his post-lunch reveries?
 


Edited by Pete Boggs, 20 July 2017 .

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#9 SON OF GRIDKNOCKER

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Posted 21 July 2017

I believe TWG is very well-read on this subject (ie Herefordshire Council 's insane need to be constantly moving its Customer Services Unit - or should we now term it the CS Hub perhaps?).

 

If memory serves, this extremely important public facility was once housed in (long-gone) Garrick House, a decently-designed building for which the architects' original brief was: "When the structure is no longer needed for offices, ensure that it can be inexpensively converted into flats." But it had to come down in order to accommodate the city's 99th coffee franchise.Franklin Barnes seemed a decent alternative. Let's move council staff down the road (once we've re-fitted at £250k). Ey-up: the planners are moving out. Let's move Customer Services again - but waste time and money cladding it in zinc or copper or protected rhino hide.

 

Nearly ready Councillor Bramer? We've got news for you: the replanning of our listed Broad Street library building will need to incorporate an all-singing all-dancing (you've guessed it) CS Hub.

 

You Couldn't Make It Up (except 'ere in 'ereford)


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#10 Cloudberry

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Posted 21 July 2017

"All renovation works continue to be delivered within allocated funds, with part-funding from an underspend in the accommodation budget and a DWP revenue contribution. This will bring the total estimated cost to £1.92million."

This is the "version" of the story from Herefordshire Council News yesterday:

 

Joint customer services hub will open Monday 4 September

Herefordshire Council’s central customer services team will move from Franklin House to the newly-refurbished Blueschool House, opening to customers on Monday 4 September 2017.

The joint customer services hub will welcome the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Jobcentre Plus and housing services, meaning customers will save time and travel less when needing access to a variety of service providers.

Herefordshire Council will achieve a saving of over £1million over the next ten years by investing in Blueschool House, receiving rental income from DWP and saving on property costs for Franklin House.

Councillor Harry Bramer, Cabinet Member for Contracts and Assets, said:

“I am pleased to announce that the Blueschool House joint customer services hub will open on time in September, despite the challenges we have faced along the way from discovering asbestos to improving the IT infrastructure.

“By sharing the space between Herefordshire Council customer services, Jobcentre Plus and housing services, we can provide a fully-accessible city centre hub with an improved experience for customers, including those with multiple needs.”

All renovation works continue to be delivered within allocated funds, with part-funding from an underspend in the accommodation budget and a DWP revenue contribution. This will bring the total estimated cost to £1.92million.

The refurbishment of Blueschool House marks the completion of the council’s current accommodation programme, although Herefordshire Council will continue to review its corporate premises and consider future opportunities when they arise.

Published: Thursday, 20th July 2017

 

Who can reveal and challenge all the inconsistencies we are hearing here?


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#11 megilleland

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Posted 21 July 2017


The refurbishment of Blueschool House marks the completion of the council’s current accommodation programme, although Herefordshire Council will continue to review its corporate premises and consider future opportunities when they arise.

 

And waste more money?


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#12 Maggie May

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Posted 22 July 2017

Why does the job centre and customer services hub need to move into Blueschool St? It seems there is plenty of space now available in the Job Centre building where there are 2 floors of offices available to let https://www.sunderla...t-hereford-4645. If Herefordshire Council go ahead with this project I see that for the rest of the year the budget left for all offices across the entire county is £13,000, which is not alot should there be a problem. With Herefordshire Council there is always a problem, and £13,000 is unlikely to be any where near enough to dig the next fiasco out of a large hole. Isnt it amazing that when a project is part of a Council "vision" money is pretty much unlimited and yet when it involves children with special needs or paying for an adequate number of social workers to support the most vulnerable in our society, the "cupboard is bare".


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#13 Ubique

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Posted 23 July 2017

The Council Press Release which was published in the Hereford Times on 26thMay 2016 stated that the project would cost £950k and it will save £1.9 million .
It reported that the Council will pay £250,000 with the rest of the funding coming from DWP £400k and Home and Communities Agency £300k.
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#14 twowheelsgood

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Posted 23 July 2017

Which is what I said further up the thread - the Council are attempting to rewrite recent history. They gave us the figures, councillors gave planning permission based on the figures, now the figures are grossly inflated. Would they have granted pp had the truth been known? Unlikely.


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