HONK! Head to the Old Library on 28th November! HONK! Don’t be late – you don’t want to pick up a fine.
But wait! What’s this?
Anyone remember where the kid’s section use to be?
But first up is the:
Fundamental Service Review of Customer Contact.
Cabinet has been asked to:
“To approve the attached business case resulting from the Fundamental Service Review of Customer Contact, and authorise the implementation planning stage of the review.”
TELL IT LIKE IT IS, etc.
It’s all about how CBC deals with ‘customers.’ We think that they mean the Little People.
“The overall aim is make it quicker and easier for customers to access Council services and deliver efficiencies for the Council during difficult financial circumstances.
Customers have told us we need to let them do more for themselves, they expect to be able to book and pay online and find information more easily.”
But let’s get to the meat of the bone:
“To recommend to full Council the inclusion and subsequent release of £2.366 million from the Council’s capital programme to fund the estimated capital costs set out in the Financial Summary.”
Full Council will of course rubberstamp this. Colchester may not exactly be the hotbed of careerist politicians, but when the big bad wolves that are the party whips start to growl, the little sheep go Baaaaa.
The wonga should be recouped by ‘Year 4′ with net savings of £1.4m. No gain without pain. Or is it the other way round, Comrades?
It’s gets kinda SEXY in point 4.1:
“The business case is a complex document that amalgamates the organisational philosophy, a new operating model and nine themes of work.”
Did David Brent write this?
Just scroll down to 5.2.2 and we see:
“Journey Management – agree the customer journey approach on which the operating model is built.”
‘cos it’s al about paying yer Council Tax on time, Comrades.
A camp Chronic eyebrow was raised [Ooooh] when we read in 5.2.8:
“Approve the implementation of the new governance structure.”
As for the consultation?
“Customers, staff, external stakeholders and Unison have played an important part in the development of this business case.”
The Cabinet paper has already been scrutinised by Scrutinty (ahh – but who scrutinises Scrutiny?)
A handy note to Editors [aha!] declares:
“The difference in the cost of a local authority servicing contacts via different channels are 15p web, £2.83 by phone and £8.62 for face-to-face.”
“The Council’s website receives over 65,000 hits per month.”
Never mind the length, feel the thickness.
The most ridiculous PowerPoint auto generated image then appears in the Cabinet paper to explain the Customer Service Review Process. It’s not so much devised by David Brent, but a Tony Hart fixated civil servant.
Speaking of all this spending, Cabinet will first have to consider the report from the Head of Resource Management, and in particular the:
“Current 2013/14 revenue budget forecast, which at this stage shows a budget gap of £248k and the forecast variables and risks.”
But it’s not all bad. A similar budget forecast presented to Cabinet only last month showed a budget gap of £374k. Our back of a fag packet calculations show that £126k has been reigned in over recent weeks.
Not quite fixing the roof whilst the sun shines, but the Cabinet papers also predict a reduction in central government funding for 2013/14 with the Comprehensive Spending Review once again being non-too catchy metaphor for cuts.
Plus don’t forget council Tax, Comrades:
“The budget forecast for Council Tax income is based on a planning assumption of a 2.5% increase in the level of Council Tax.”
A Council Tax Freeze Grant may be heading our way however, via that nice George Osborne.
And the timing of this?
2014 – just ahead of the General Election.
Dontcha just love the politicisation of civic responsibilities?
An interesting aside appears in the footnote in the report from the Head of Resources – Castle Park is *possibly* going to be the home of an ‘outdoor gym.’
It certainly saves on heating costs, not to mention the budget for building a roof.
This is all linked in with 2012 legacy [URGH] and the Section 106 wonga from the Jarmin Road residential development. The figures don’t quite stack up – £31k is still needed to be found for the total spend of £125k.
As for the exact Castle Park location?
“The rear of the Castle Park café on land that has been used for crazy golf and previously for glasshouses.”
Best not throw stones.
Moving on and the Head of Resource Management has been incredibly busy writing reports. Item 9 (i) on the Cabinet agenda is to consider the report on Localised Council Tax Support 2013/14.
The decision required is:
“To agree and recommend to Council the Localised Council Tax Support Scheme as set out within this report and detailed in the Policy document.”
Which put simply means rubber-stamping the end of Council Tax Benefit and the introduction of the Localised Council Tax Support Scheme.
Tomato / tomatoe, etc.
Get down to Gosbecks Road and you soon may be able to fill your basket with tomatos / tomatoes. Cabinet will be considering a supermarket proposal for the Depot site up at Shrub End.
But not a great deal can be blogged about it. As with most commercial considerations, the Cabinet papers don’t disclose much. This part of the meeting will be closed to the public.
At stake is the agreement for a lease between CBC and Scott Properties Ltd. A ‘rental stream’ is the incentive for Cabinet to help them decide on the 20,000 square feet space. 100 new jobs are cited as being up for grabs.
A familiar theme of what the chuffers to do with CBC owned infrastructure will continue when Cabinet discusses:
Future Use of the Magistrates’ Courts Task and Finish Group.
Two offers have been made for the old Magistrates space deep down below the Town Hall. Both are restaurants.
Talk about the Last Supper, etc- we’re gonna copyright this one, Comrades…
The mid-winter Report extravaganza continues at Cabinet with a contribution from the Head of Strategic Policy and Regeneration.
Build ‘em up, knock ‘em down etc.
“This report concerns a proposal to adopt a Strategic Tenancy Strategy which will ensure we meet our statutory duty under the Localism Act 2011.”
Which is in #localgov language roughly translates as do what you are bloody told by that nice Eric Pickles at a national level.
He’s not from round here, dontchknow.
Don’t just LOVE Localism?
Look beyond the political power of that nice Eric Pickles and back in Britain’s Oldest Recorded this all means that Cabinet will be clarifying the type of tenancy agreement that CBC will be able to offer in the future.
Some interesting figures [SERIOUSLY] can be seen in the Report appendix. These include the calculation that the average annual income in Sunny Colch is £24,583. From this calculation a further figure of £118.19 pew week is printed as the weekly affordable rent for a 1 bed.
Safe as council houses.
Almost evening all, almost at the end of the agenda.
Police and Crime Panel Arrangements comes next:
“To accept the Terms of Reference, the Panel Arrangements and the Rules of Procedure for the Essex Police and Crime Panel.”
More committee reorganisations.
And finally, before the Old Library at the Town Hall gets to wave farewell to the Cabinet roadshow, the last item on the agenda is:
Amendment to Scheme of Delegation to Officers.
Whoever said that libraries weren’t SEXY?
‘Cos it’s all about the amalgamation of the Estates and Regeneration teams within Strategic Policy and Regeneration.
Talk about saving the best until last, Comrades.
Cabinet will consider all of the above on the evening of 28th November at 6pm in the Old Library. This is a public meeting. Any residents who wish to attend would do well to remember that it is most definitely a marathon and not a sprint.