Agenda item - Education Capital Resources and Capital Investment Programme 2020/21

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Agenda item

Education Capital Resources and Capital Investment Programme 2020/21

Report of the Executive Director for Families, Children & Learning (Copy attached)

Decision:

RESOLVED –

 

1.    That the level of available capital resources totalling £8.187 million for investment relating to education building financed from capital grant be noted.

 

2.    That the allocation of funding as shown in Appendices 3 and 4 and that a recommendation to Policy & Resources Committee on 19 March 2020 for inclusion within the Council’s Capital Investment Programme 2020/21 be agreed by committee.

 

3.    That a recommendation to Policy & Resources Committee to grant delegated authority to the Assistant Director of Property & Design to procure the capital maintenance and basic need works and enter into contracts within these budgets, as required in accordance with Contract Standing Orders in respect of the entire Education Capital Programme be agreed by committee.

Minutes:

68.1    The Committee considered a report of the Interim Executive Director Families, Children & Learning regarding the Education Capital Resources and Capital Investment Programme 2020/21.  The report was introduced by the Head of School Organisation and the Head of Capital Strategy & DP.

 

68.2    The committee were provided with a brief overview of the report which sought to inform the Committee of the level of available capital resources allocated to this service and to recommend a Capital Investment Programme for 2020/21. Committee members were further informed of the Capital Programme under Pupil Places and Condition investment for 2020/21 along with the level of available resources from Section 106 contributions and expenditure for the 2019/20 year. It was noted that assumptions would have to be made of the capital levels received from Central Government as allocations had not yet been set. It was stated that there were three different formats of funding to capital maintenance which were:

 

·         The allocation to Councils

·         A buy back service that schools could contribute to

·         An allocation from Central Government to schools directly.

 

It was noted that and that the estimated amount that could be spent was 5.4 million pounds. It was noted that to complete all outstanding works it would cost 29.5 million pounds. It was established that an exercise was being undertaken to survey all schools’ perimeter fencing to identify whether to bring forward proposals to spend capital funds on this.

 

68.3     Councillor McNair referred to 3.25 and enquired of the number of more schools that would require boundary surveys, when this would be finished and what action could be undertaken by the Local Authority. Further clarity was sought in regard to using section 106 money for fencing, specifically Carden Primary as fences were a safeguarding measure.

 

68.4     The Head of School Organisation stated that fencing was not necessarily a key issue that was covered by section 106 money however BHCC would consider working as creatively as possible with regard to the use of the funding for maximum impact for schools in the City. It was stated work being carried out by BHCC this financial year and would necessitate on the access and availability of being able to liaise with school staff and school leaders. It was confirmed that governors and school leaders would have input in prioritising works at schools such as Carden Primary.

 

68.5     Councillor McNair sought confirmation on fencing provision for schools.

 

68.6     The Head of School Organisation noted BHCC’s responsibility for perimeter fences and stated that they were clear in terms of demarcation of funding and responsibilities that ultimately, fencing was a matter for a school to be able to maintain. It was further noted that BHCC would continue to engage and discuss with schools and that BHCC has supported and invested in schools where there had previously been no fence. It was noted that efforts to service everyone as best as possible would be paramount.

 

68.7     Councillor Nield sought clarification as to whether Central government had, in previous years, failed to announce maintenance funding allocations or devolved formula capital allocations.

 

68.8     The Head of Strategy Capital & DP stated that while unusual however this had occurred before. It was confirmed that the reason given by Central Government was that a very high-level nationwide condition survey across all schools in the UK had been undertaken that was in addition to the detailed condition surveys that BHCC held. It was further clarified that a new algorithm for devolving funding based partly on pupil numbers and significantly on need was being authored and that this had not yet been completed.

 

68.9     Councillor Hills referred to D1 and D2s and enquired of the process by which funding was allocated and how repairs were being carried out and if they were being undertaken by local contractors paying minimum wage. Confirmation was sought as to whether sustainable methods and materials for repairs were being utilised.

 

68.10   The Head of School Organisation stated that in regard to D1 and D2s there was a rolling program of review of all schools carried out every 5 years which identified all the issues that needed addressing and priorities within those.

 

68.11   The Head of Strategy Capital & DP stated that where possible, local Small / Medium Enterprises were utilised and that up to and including this year, BHCC were using Construction Line as the system for determining contractors however BHCC were in the process of procuring a range of frameworks that would be used in future to procure building works. It was stated that BHCC were currently going through a large tender exercise with the intention to be up and running by September 2020. It was noted that the tendering process included consideration of small, medium sized enterprises, locality among others. It was clarified that where re-roofing was necessary, above requirement levels of insulation would be included to improve thermal efficiency and that where maintenance on school buildings, the most efficient plants and materials would be utilised.

 

68.12   Councillor Hills sought clarification as to whether gas boilers were still being used to replace those in building undergoing works.

 

68.13   The Head of Strategy Capital & DP noted that BHCC would always look at what other options there were available but technical difficulties that could arise when considering efficient heating sources for large buildings.

 

68.14   Councillor Clare enquired how schools raised issues they deemed important.

 

68.15   The Head of Strategy Capital & DP clarified that in addition to the 5-year condition surveys carried out, BHCC visited every school every year in the Autumn Term along with building surveyors to talk about any building issues that may have arisen since the previous Autumn. It was further noted that there were ongoing daily discussions regarding issues and that BHCC retained records of all conversations for good practice.

68.16   Councillor Knight referred to the large backlog and sought clarification as to why this was and if time was a factor for this. Further reference was made to the 83 individual ongoing projects and requested the number of completed projects. Clarification was sought as to whether there was any Section 106 money from before 2019 that was unspent.

 

68.17   The Head of Strategy Capital & DP confirmed that the backlog maintenance was large and that it was mostly due to underfunding from Central Government however this had changed and BHCC were now in receipt of a generous settlement of 5 million pounds a year. It was stated that the number of D2s that were being undertaken was above the number of D1s which was a positive sign. It was noted that there was no issue of contractors doing works they were not supposed to and that there were around 4 further ongoing projects. Clarification in regard to Section 106 money, further information would be shared with Councillor Knight.

 

68.18   Councillor Simson referred to the cost of allowance for additional after school care provision and enquired if BHCC were satisfied that there were providers in the City that could make use of these facilities or if BHCC were expecting schools to provide these facilities in house. Clarification was sought regarding maintenance of other buildings that came within the education portfolio.

 

68.19   The Assistant Director – Education & Skills stated that there was a range of after school provision in the city some of which was provided by companies outside of the city and that some schools provided their own after school provision.

 

68.20   Councillor Simson noted the difficulty in providing after school care.

 

68.21   The Head of School Organisation noted that non-school buildings which came under the umbrella of education buildings were covered by the Capital Funding however there were no projects in this year’s works.

 

68.22   RESOLVED –

 

1.    That the level of available capital resources totalling £8.187 million for investment relating to education building financed from capital grant be noted.

 

2.    That the allocation of funding as shown in Appendices 3 and 4 and that a recommendation to Policy & Resources Committee on 19 March 2020 for inclusion within the Council’s Capital Investment Programme 2020/21 be agreed by committee.

 

3.    That a recommendation to Policy & Resources Committee to grant delegated authority to the Assistant Director of Property & Design to procure the capital maintenance and basic need works and enter into contracts within these budgets, as required in accordance with Contract Standing Orders in respect of the entire Education Capital Programme be agreed by committee.

Supporting documents:

 


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