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Extra Money Needed To Complete Blueschool House


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#1 Colin James

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Posted 27 July 2017

The Council will seek approval for extra money to complete Blueschool House, they are only a £1million pound short! Yes a £1million pound, so where will they find this extra money? Because apparently we do not have any due to cut backs, not even enough money to kill the cities weeds. Cllr Chris Chappell advises us all to stop moaning and remove them ourselves!

 

See Aylestone Voice original topic here

 

Blueschool House.jpg

 

According to the Council website 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. They will spend this now on the overspend, great savings eh!

 

Quote from the Hereford Times - COUNCILLORS will be asked to approve an overspend of almost £1m on refurbishing a council building.

 
At today's meeting, Herefordshire Council's cabinet will be asked to approve an increase in capital expenditure to complete the building work at Blueschool House in Blueschool Street, Hereford.
 
The work is ongoing to complete the joint customer services hub, which will include the council's central customer services team, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Jobcentre Plus and housing services.
 
When councillors first approved the project they were told it would cost £950,000, with £250,000 being provided by the council, but the project estimate is now at £1.92m, an extra £970,000.
 
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has contributed £400,000 to the project, while The Homes and Communities Agency has contributed £300,000.
 
Today, cabinet is being asked to approve £50,000 to be allocated from the ICT revenue reserve to provide sufficient ICT equipment at Blueschool House; £200,000 to be allocated from the earmarked economy, communities and corporate revenue reserve to support the increased costs; and having regard to the continued revenue benefits identified in the revised business case, a further £720,000 to be approved to deliver a joint customer services hub at Blueschool House, bringing the total estimated cost to £1.92m

 

It was published on the Council website at the end of July that Blueschool House will open on schedule in September 


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#2 ragwert

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Posted 27 July 2017

Should this not be part of Aylestone Voice topic


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#3 Colin James

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Posted 27 July 2017

Should this not be part of Aylestone Voice topic

 

I wrote it and then realised AV had also written a topic, hence my link to his original.


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#4 K.Butt

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Posted 27 July 2017

Councillor Chappell should go and lend a hand, that will save some money  :Winky:


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#5 Aylestone Voice

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Posted 27 July 2017

I spoken to someone who went to Cabinet today.

Apparently not a lot happened as they just wanted to approve the extra spend, although it was said that due to the identified long term savings they would have gone ahead at the higher cost anyway. 

The cock up is being assessed by the internal auditors - This is the South West Audit Partnership (which was recommended as the internal auditors by Peter Robinson when he was here and of course which he helped set up when he was in Bristol) 

Their report will go to the Audit and Governance Committee in September I think. 

I'm told that a couple of Councillors raised concerns about the cost and that the additional work should have been obvious and anticipated but this will be better considered when the audit report is available.

However as you would expect it was - "well let's make sure we learn the lessons and forget it" 

Hmmmm! Have we not heard those words before?


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#6 twowheelsgood

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Posted 27 July 2017

IOC were live blogging it on their Facebook page;

 

Lots of cabinet members absent. Also 2 group leaders (Green + Liberal) and one of the scrutiny chairs ... but a busy agenda

 
 
Next item - it gets worse ... debacle of the Blue School House massive overspend of well over £1m. Director Geoff Hughes says an investigation by council's internal auditors is still underway and will report to Audit & Governance Committee in September. Shockingly it appears that a proper contract for the work hasn't even been signed and the contract would not now pass the requirements of the council's updated constitution as regards the number of contractors (1) on the framework contract used.
 
Serious concern expressed by Cllr Powers - incredulous at the litany of errors which appear to have come to light. We must await for the investigation output to A&G before digging further into this one ... we're nowhere near the bottom.

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#7 Pete Boggs

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Posted 28 July 2017


 
Next item - it gets worse ... debacle of the Blue School House massive overspend of well over £1m. Director Geoff Hughes says an investigation by council's internal auditors is still underway and will report to Audit & Governance Committee in September. Shockingly it appears that a proper contract for the work hasn't even been signed and the contract would not now pass the requirements of the council's updated constitution as regards the number of contractors (1) on the framework contract used.

 

Council's property team pissed while on the job again? Surely not - that can't be the explanation for this debacle can it?

 

Unsigned contracts, that's par for the course with this Council - see previous comments re: Butter Market.


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#8 M. Preece

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Posted 28 July 2017

A £1million pounds shortfall? That is unbelievable 


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#9 Denise Lloyd

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Posted 29 July 2017

Council's property team pissed while on the job again? Surely not - that can't be the explanation for this debacle can it?

 

Unsigned contracts, that's par for the course with this Council - see previous comments re: Butter Market.

Council's property team pissed while on the job again

 

I was not going to remark on Pete Boggs comment on being "pissed whilst on duty" but I feel I cannot let it pass.  I am not a prude and definitely not tea total but I find it incomprehensible that Senior members of Herefordshire Council staff are the worse for wear in the afternoons.  I am assuming this is a regular occurrence. Many years ago when life was a lot more relaxed but we still got our work done my chosen watering holes at a lunch time were the Oxford Arms(Ted and Iris) Broad Leys Wye Inn to name but a few but we were never too pickled not to be able to carry on working in the afternoon.  

 

Nowadays alcoholic lunchtimes during working hours are an absolute no no and if I had to deal with anybody in business who stank of drink they would not get my business.   

 

I say these guys and I assume they are guys should be named and shamed.  I have had names suggested to me and some  are still employed by the Council.  No wonder all property transactions including the Council farms  handled by the Council are and have been such a shambles. As Bobby would say God help us!


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#10 ragwert

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Posted 30 July 2017

I see the Hereford Times has removed some 40+ comments on this article

http://www.herefordt...eschool_House_/


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#11 megilleland

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Posted 30 July 2017

Is that to give a balanced view!


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#12 Aylestone Voice

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Posted 12 September 2017

Read and weep!

 

http://councillors.h...ol House ca.pdf

 

http://councillors.h...tion Report.pdf


Edited by Aylestone Voice, 12 September 2017 .

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#13 Ubique

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Posted 13 September 2017

A friend who has just read the report points out that the well know phrase .........

" Lessons have been learnt " has been omitted from the Report !
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#14 SON OF GRIDKNOCKER

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Posted 13 September 2017

A £1million pounds shortfall? That is unbelievable 

Anywhere else yes; but 'ere in 'ereford, no that's par for the course!


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#15 SON OF GRIDKNOCKER

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Posted 13 September 2017

In my haste to reassure M.Preece that the distribution of largesse (our largesse!) is the norm in this county, I quite overlooked the fact that after the construction of The Old Market shopping precinct was well underway (then, for some curious reason, known as The Grid), the developers went cap in hand to the council and asked for more money to enable them to finish the scheme. Naturally, being of an extremely generous nature when it comes to doling out  our moolah, the cabinet duly rolled over on its back and allowed its financial tummy to be tickled. I can't remember the sum (£500,000 I think), but I'm sure Megi or TWG can refresh our memories.


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#16 Pete Boggs

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Posted 13 September 2017

Looks like the resident pi*% artists in the Council's property/construction team are to blame, much as I surmised.

They've been audited before and told to smarten up their act when it comes to procurement, but old  habits die hard. I'm only surprised it's taken this long to come and bite them in the gluteus maximus.


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#17 SON OF GRIDKNOCKER

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Posted 14 September 2017

Looks like the resident pi*% artists in the Council's property/construction team are to blame, much as I surmised.

They've been audited before and told to smarten up their act when it comes to procurement, but old  habits die hard. I'm only surprised it's taken this long to come and bite them in the gluteus maximus.

I understand that the need to have a lift installed in the new building was only recognised by said resident pi*% artists at the 59th minute of the 11th hour.

 

How the chosen lift manufacturer / installer must have rubbed his hands with glee!


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#18 Aylestone Voice

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Posted 14 September 2017

I understand that the need to have a lift installed in the new building was only recognised by said resident pi*% artists at the 59th minute of the 11th hour.

 

How the chosen lift manufacturer / installer must have rubbed his hands with glee!

In now way defending the actions of out of control officers what do you mean by this - the planning application approved in September 2016 showed a lift?


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#19 Ubique

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Posted 14 September 2017

In now way defending the actions of out of control officers what do you mean by this - the planning application approved in September 2016 showed a lift?


I heard the same story as Son of GK , the fact that the Planning Application showed a lift doesn't mean that the work was carried out when it should have been .
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#20 twowheelsgood

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Posted 14 September 2017

In my haste to reassure M.Preece that the distribution of largesse (our largesse!) is the norm in this county, I quite overlooked the fact that after the construction of The Old Market shopping precinct was well underway (then, for some curious reason, known as The Grid), the developers went cap in hand to the council and asked for more money to enable them to finish the scheme. Naturally, being of an extremely generous nature when it comes to doling out  our moolah, the cabinet duly rolled over on its back and allowed its financial tummy to be tickled. I can't remember the sum (£500,000 I think), but I'm sure Megi or TWG can refresh our memories.

 

Sort of right - there was a last minute stand off on the sale of the land - the developers demanded a £0.5m reduction or they would walk away from the whole proposal. Council duly rolled over for tummy tickling as the developers knew they would. I believe the site was valued at £30m at the start of the ESG debacle and that it was sold for less than a tenth of that to British Land.


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#21 SON OF GRIDKNOCKER

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Posted 14 September 2017

In now way defending the actions of out of control officers what do you mean by this - the planning application approved in September 2016 showed a lift?

Can you re-phrase this in legible English please? Try not to get so excited when you're typing.


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#22 Denise Lloyd

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Posted 15 September 2017

Sorry to go on and on ................ but is this department the same shower of poo supposedly responsible for the running of the Council Farms and the Link Road?

 

I have said in a previous post but I find it incomprehensible that their are members of staff p........ in the afternoon.  These people should be sacked on the spot and no golden handshake.  I trust they do not attempt to drive home after their hard day's work.


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#23 Colin James

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Posted 20 September 2017

From Herefordshire Council Website today:

 

Herefordshire Council has begun a review of its internal procedures following the findings of the audit
 
A review by the South West Audit Partnership (SWAP) was requested by Herefordshire Council’s incoming Chief Finance Officer to investigate the Blueschool House project management and overspend. The findings were considered by the council’s audit and governance committee on Wednesday 20 September 2017.
 
The audit scope included the background to the key decision, the procurement of the contract, changes to the original scope of refurbishment work, an understanding of the escalation of costs and how changes to the contract and refurbishment were authorised.
 
Herefordshire Council has begun a review of its internal procedures following the findings of the audit.
 
Andrew Lovegrove, Herefordshire Council’s incoming Chief Finance Officer, said:

“On behalf of Herefordshire Council, I would like to apologise unreservedly. Herefordshire Council prides itself in trying to ensure best value for money for Herefordshire residents in all our projects and in this project we failed to do so. It is disappointing for us all to find that some colleagues, however small in number, did not observe the correct procedures. This is also entirely in contrast to Herefordshire Council’s performance managing its entire capital expenditure of £55.8m within budget, whilst delivering multiple projects successfully.
 
“The Audit and Governance Committee has approved a series of recommendations to prevent this happening again, which we fully accept and will make the appropriate improvements to the way we work. We will report back to the committee in January to assure them that changes have been made.”

 


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#24 ragwert

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Posted 20 September 2017

So what was the real over spend. £1 million or 250,000?


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#25 twowheelsgood

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Posted 20 September 2017

At least £1m - niceties such as fees (£110k to the architects alone) have conveniently not been included.

 

Whilst, typically, SWAP and the Council have concentrated on procedure, or chronic lack of, seemingly no one has looked at the actual building cost - is £2m reasonable for the work done and if not what steps can be taken to recover some of the monies. Given that architects HUB provided an accurate build cost of £1,060,000, then it is baffling why the cost doubled for what is a pretty small job. Why has no one pulled in a Quantity Surveyor to go through all of the costs and challenge the contractors to justify them? That money, our money, has gone somewhere and for sure it's not in that building.

 

As an aside, as for the contractors, HUB were appointed on the say of one officer, no checks, no tender, no demonstration of value for money and no contract either. Truly shocking.


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#26 Pete Boggs

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Posted 21 September 2017


 

As an aside, as for the contractors, HUB were appointed on the say of one officer, no checks, no tender, no demonstration of value for money and no contract either. Truly shocking.

 

This kind of poor practice is endemic within the property department when it comes to construction projects. In fact I'd go so far as to describe it as standard procedure.

 

It's no use Andrew Lovegrove blaming a small group of rogue officers - they've been carrying on like this for years, and they've been allowed to.


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#27 SON OF GRIDKNOCKER

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Posted 21 September 2017

BLUESCHOOL HUB

 

Service of Thanksgiving

 

HEREFORD CATHEDRAL

 

For the deliverance from perdition by SWAP of Officers A B & C

 

Processional hymn:

 

Lead us heavenly Johnson, lead us

O'er this authority's financially-blighted sea.

Feed us, guard us, bung us

For we have no hope but thee.

Yet possessing every blessing

Tony Johnson, our Godfather be

 

Sermon by the Dean of Hereford ( the Rt Rev'd Whats-his-name) on the theme 'Lessons Have Been Learned'.

 

Collection (to raise funds for the post-service pi*%-up in the Lichfield Vaults). Mine Host::Bill 'Gis-us-a-job ' Norman. Special stand-up comedy act: Andrew 'You couldn't make it up' Lovegrove.


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#28 Ubique

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Posted 21 September 2017

Son of GK , I like that , well done .

It's going to cost them more now because the one of the two sliding doors at the Public entrance had been smashed , now covered in plywood , well it was last Tuesday .
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#29 twowheelsgood

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Posted 21 September 2017

It's going to cost them more now because the one of the two sliding doors at the Public entrance had been smashed , now covered in plywood , well it was last Tuesday .

 

That'll be as a result of some of the 'value engineering' that was done to bring the cost down!!


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#30 Denise Lloyd

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Posted 21 September 2017

Rog P bless him has spouted the lessons will be learned should it be learnt.

 

I thought exterior glass doors were impenetrable (might be a problem with the spelling there)


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