To receive the report of the Head of Estates & Operations.
The Committee received and considered the report of the Head of Estates & Operations reviewing the Council’s grounds maintenance services which were taken in-house from October 2022.
The review showed the change had resulted in a positive overall outcome for the Council in all aspects of the service and that the cost was comparable to that provided by the former external contractor.
Key achievements, challenges, risks were identified and there were further opportunities moving forward, including around hanging baskets and additional equipment.
The costs for the services had been top-heavy in year one due to the purchase of equipment, there was further work required on staffing levels and while initially there were issues regarding grass cutting, these were overcome and the flexibility in works allowed a more efficient reactionary response.
Members welcomed the review, effectively within budget, and recognised the efforts of all staff involved in the transition during the last year. Well kempt open spaces were a source of civic pride and were welcoming for visitors to Witney and further improvements would now be able to follow all the good work so far.
1. That, the report be noted and,
2. That, the Council continues to provide hanging baskets in the town and,
3. That, Officers review the feasibility of outsourcing the hanging basket maintenance or continuing this in-house due to the seasonal requirements, vehicles and equipment necessary and,
4. That, the following requests be included in the 2024-25 draft budget, subject to prioritisation which may be required in the final version:
a. £5,575 ex VAT for a Trimax FX155 front mount flail.
b. £5,449 ex VAT for a Trimax Striker 150 tractor-mounted mower to fit on the new compact tractor.
c. £15,000-£30,000 for a ride on mower.
d. Ford transit with a renewal fund of £22,878 to be replaced with a Mitsubishi FUSO - tipper body (or equivalent) at circa £34,000 ex VAT.
e. Peugeot Partner was bought used as a temporary vehicle due to long delays on new vehicle purchasing to be replaced with a Nissan Townstar (Electric) at £30,518 ex VAT.