LET THE PEOPLE SPEAK: WHERE SHOULD THE COUNCIL AXE FALL?

By Democrat reporter

How would you like to look over the shoulder of the elected members of West Dunbartonshire Council and choose which projects you would like to see going ahead in the New Year.

And which ones you would like to see postponed since you consider them to be unnecessary in light of the current financial crisis the country finds itself in?

Here is a list of projects and comments about them from the officials who have recommended them as possibilities to be included in the swingeing cuts required by West Dunbartonshire Council to fill a £21 million blackhole in their budget for the coming financial year.

The final decisions for this will not be made until March 23, 2023.

Rationale for Projects Recommended for Removal
Service Project Rationale
R&R Energy Projects
quick wins
Costs for projects of this nature should either be aligned with
the next three years of projects which Building Services
have for Building Upgrades or via Central Repairs budget or
the services own budget if a quick win is to reduce utility
costs.
R&R Upgrade obsolete
heating controls
(BEMS)
Costs for projects of this nature should either be aligned with
the next three years of projects which Building Services
have for Building Upgrades or via Central Repairs budget or
the services own budget if an outcome is a reduction in
utility costs.
R&R Water Meter
Downsize
Costs for projects of this nature should either be aligned with
the next three years of projects which Building Services
have for Building Upgrades or via Central Repairs budget or
the services own budget if an outcome is a reduction in
utility costs.
R&R Zero Carbon Costs for projects of this nature should either be aligned with
the next three years of projects and beyond, which Building
Services have for Building Upgrades. This will prevent
disruption to service users within buildings as currently
programmes are not aligned and therefore there is a risk
that building upgrades work could be completed and then
works to achieve net zero commenced and vice versa.
R&R Viresco Studio
and Arts Centre
Project cancelled and Scottish Government funding
withdrawn
R&R Lighting upgrades
to LED in schools
and Corporate
buildings
This should be funded from building upgrades recurring
budget after applying the existing prioritisation process.
Currently programmes are ongoing outwith the building
upgrades prioritisation process which has been approved by
Council.
R&R Water Automatic
Meter Readers
Costs for projects of this nature should either be aligned with
the next three years of projects which Building Services
have for Building Upgrades or via Central Repairs budget or
the services own budget if an outcome is a reduction in
utility costs.
R&R Replace Obsolete
oil fired Boiler at
HUB CEC.
This site is due for building upgrades work in line with the
prioritisation process in 2023/24 and this should be added to
the building upgrades project which has already accounted
for the cost of this within the budget allocation.
R&R Electricity
Automatic Meter
Readers
Costs for projects of this nature should either be aligned with
the next three years of projects which Building Services
have for Building Upgrades or via Central Repairs budget or
the services own budget if an outcome is a reduction in
utility costs.
CCF Telephone
System Upgrade
This was taken forward following criticism of the service in
2021/22 and would have enabled calls to be recorded for
quality improvement and also introduced call positioning.
The team will consult ICT to ascertain if there is any
alternative funding other than capital.
SDP New Sports
Changing Facility
Dumbarton West
(Old OLSP)
Very minor spend to date against this project as yet and
project has not progressed for an extended period of time.
The spend to date has only been in relation to surveys for
feasibility of the site and ground conditions together with
planning application. The site has no current bookings and
it is not known whether there is a demand for this and the
booking previously taken when it was a school has moved to
the new school location. There is potential for the site to be
sold to developers whhc would generate a capital receipt.
SDP Purchase of 3
Welfare Units
No spend to date and building services have confirmed that,
if and when these are required, they can be hired
SDP Holm Park &
Yoker Athletic FC
Project is complete.
SDP New
Westbridgend
Community
Centre
This project has been subject to previous council reports
and commitments made to progress it however there has
been no spend against it as at December 2022 and in the
current economic climate it needs to be considered against
other priorities and whether it delivers value for money. The
Council have engaged with the community group to submit
an application for funding of up to £1m from the
Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and it is anticipated there
is a good possibility they will be successful. This will not be
known until around September 2023.
SDP Changing Places
Toilet Provision
This was a Council commitment when agreeing the 2022/23
but there is no spend too date against it although it is at
design stage. Since that budget decision two changing place
toilets have been installed in non WDC sites (Clydebank
Shopping Centre and the Big Disability Building) and further
ones could be added in Concord and Alexandria
Community Centre when they are refurbished in 2023/24
and 2024/25 as part of the Building Upgrades programme..
SDP Alexandria
Community
Centre Sports
Hall re-flooring
This is not considered a high priority project at the current
time and there is no spend to date against it – there may be
scope to incorporate these works into Building Upgrades
prioritisation works and either commence in 2023/24 or
2024/25.
HSCP Replacement of
CareFirst
Whilst there has been concern that the CareFirst supplier
(OLM) will no longer support the current version of Carefirst
as they have developed a new cloud based replacement
they have confirmed that their senior management team
have not made any formal decisions around the general
support for CareFirst. They have confirmed that they no
longer provide bug fixes or enhancements for CareFirst
unless there is a statutory need for them to do so. Given that
support is still being provided and given the uncertainty
about the future of social care provision due to the potential
for a National Care Service it is not advisable to invest
material capital sums in a system which may or may not be
needed in the short to medium future.
R&N Infrastructure –
Flooding
This recurring budget line is used to fund smaller
infrastructure projects as and when they arise. In essence it
is a ‘general pot’. Going forward these infrastructure projects
should be subject to a specific capital bid to ensure they are
considered equally against all other capital bids
R&N Footways/Cycle
Path Upgrades
This can be absorbed within the existing recurring roads
annual budget.
R&N Spaces for
People
Project has been completed and budget is not required. Was
carried forward in error.
R&N A813 Road
Improvement
Phase 2
Chief Officer to consider the impact of removing this phase
2 budget and, if appropriate, bring forward a future capital
bid for revised works.
R&N A811 Lomond
Bridge
Project is complete and no budget beyond 2022/23 – remove
from capital programme
R&N Elevated
Platforms
(Building
Services)
No spend to date and building services have confirmed that
if and when these are required they can be hired.
R&N Protective
overcoating to 4
bridges over
River Leven
Renton Bridge has been completed but other bridge works
not yet procured. Remove this now and future bids can be
submitted and assessed as required.
R&N Mandatory
20mph
Residential
communities
This was a capital bid that has taken a long time to deliver
as linked to Scottish Government and transport bill. It can
be reduced and phased over a number of years or removed
at current time. Recommendation is to remove at current
time and consider need to reintroduce it at a later date if and
when there is greater clarity from the Scottish Government
over what is required
R&N Footway
Resurfacing
(RAMP)
There is no spend to date against this just now as it is taking
a long time to procure a contractor in the current market.
This budget should be removed and the costs absorbed
from within the recurring roads budget
R&N Water Safety This budget was a political decision taken in early 2022 – the
budget has not been spend as at November 2022.
R&N Street sign
renewal
This should be funded from the recurring roads budget
R&N Christmas lights No costs assigned for this as of yet and Christmas light
provision is subject to review
R&N Roads
improvements
Council commitment when agreeing 2022/23 budget. No
spend to date.
R&N Pavement
improvements
Council commitment when agreeing 2022/23 budget. No
spend to date.
H&E Invest in “Your
Community
Initiative”
This is externally funded but won’t extend beyond 2022/23
so can be removed from the capital programme however
has no savings impact
H&E Integrated
Housing
Management
System
This budget was to cover costs of capitalised consultancy
however there is now less of a need for consultancy so
budget no longer required
H&E Dennystoun
Forge Site
Improvements
Budget is the funding included within the Council’s Capital
Block Grant to support the provision of service to Gypsy
Travelling community. Funding in 2022/23 is earmarked for
proposed improvements to the Dennystoun Forge site in
terms of traffic calming measures and play provision. Future
years spend is undetermined and therefore can be removed

One comment

  1. Instead of swinging the axe, how about eradicating waste, inefficiency and corruption.

    Lady Mone certainly knew how to do a procurement deal. So does our council.

    Getting paid a days wages for only a few hours work is also not an unknown situation. Indeed, quite recently there was a long term sick employee who was found to be working for another council. And of course waste. Take a look at the Dalmoak tip and see the brand new building materials dumped on a regular basis. Overordered from stores, or the wrong stuff ordered, its easier to dump new materials than take them back to store or supplier.

    If we could get an initiative to eradicate these types of thing then we could get more bang for our buck. But like Lady Mone, there’s deep boots to be filled.
    .
    Time the councillors of all persuasions got active in pursuing these issues. The SNP didn’t and neither it seems will Labour. Make the initiative cross party, non political.

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