Agenda item

Public Realm Services Future Operating Model

A review has determined that the council’s current public realm services and contracting arrangements will not deliver the council’s medium to long term aspirations.


The council’s vision is to design and deliver new public realm services that are fit for the future embracing technology and digital innovation, a transition to electric plant, vehicles and new materials to meet net zero carbon by 2030, investment in our people that support development and innovation enabling the service to continually improve, maximising resources and opportunities to best meet the needs of local residents and communities.


To achieve this vision the council, working in partnership with the Public Realm Service Contractor, seek approval to select and develop a Future Operating Model that has been determined as the best model to deliver this vision while minimising service and financial risks during this period of change.


Cabinet members considered a report setting out the outcome of the midpoint review of the public realm services contract and a proposal that the future operating model be selected as an in house client and technical staff, with the existing provider for top up professional services and works.


The cabinet member infrastructure and transport introduced the report and explained that issues had been raised about value for money, quality of work and client control. Extensive discussions had taken place regarding the key objectives of the council and which operating model would best meet these. Best efforts were made to ensure that as many councillors as possible across all parties were able to contribute.


Cabinet members discussed the report and it was noted that:

·       There was nothing essentially wrong with the current contract but the key performance indicators were now out of tune with the county plan and the operating model needed adjustment;

·       Officers and the contractor have engaged positively in the discussions;

·       The proposed model will give tighter control of quality and a friendly but sufficiently tense relationship between the council and the contractor;

·       Locality stewards are highly valued;

·       The contractors involved are all keen to do more to support the council’s priorities around social value and role as a corporate parent in generating opportunities for young people;

·       The proposed change to the operating model will not resolve all the issues identified in the past but will give the council the ability to check and challenge the work done by the contractor.


Group leaders generally welcomed the report and the closer monitoring that the proposed operating model will allow. In response to queries it was noted that the new contract model has flexibility to get more local suppliers involved and to work with parish councils to do some of the smaller jobs differently. The council will have to take back some risk but this approach presents opportunities for delivering parts of the public realm programme differently.


The chairman of the connected communities scrutiny committee commented on the discussion held at the scrutiny committee as part of the discussion of the options for the future operating model. The committee flagged the importance of clarity on who was responsible for what and that communication with the public is absolutely key. The proposed option was seen as a step in the right direction.



It was unanimously resolved that:


a)             Cabinet note the outcome of the midpoint review of the public realm services contract;


b)             Cabinet approve the selection and development of Future Operating Model Five being “In house client and technical staff with existing provider (single contract) for top up professional services and works”;


c)             Cabinet note and support the commitments and initiatives in paragraph 28 a-h to be developed between the council working in partnership with the Public Realm Services Contractor;


d)             Cabinet delegate the design and development of Future Operating Model Five to the Corporate Director of Economy & Environment in consultation with the s151 Officer and the three Cabinet Members for Infrastructure and Transport, Commissioning, Procurement and Assets and Finance, Corporate Services and Planning; and


e)             Cabinet approve the executive response to the scrutiny recommendations as set out in appendix L to the report.

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