Resources are well managed and reflect priorities of residents
Thriving communities outcome: Our resources are well managed and reflect the priorities of our residents
Reducing our corporate buildings
Work has progressed around moving out of the HQ building, in Chester, as part of the Council's accommodation review. Once fully implemented, the strategy of reducing our corporate buildings is expected to save £2.4 million a year, move services closer to residents and develop a way of working that is fit for the future. This year 2,090 staff from 238 teams moved to new locations with 87 per cent of staff now working more flexibly.
Children's centre contracts
We reviewed our children's centre contracts. A single provider now looks after security systems, grounds maintenance and clinical waste for all centres, meaning we can offer the same services at a reduced cost.
Internal review of Welfare Services
An internal review of Welfare Services has increased joint working between teams including Finance, Children's and Adults' Services, Housing, Employment and Localities, providing a better understanding of each customer's needs, and making us more efficient.
Our Council Plan, Helping the Borough Thrive, ends in 2020 with a new plan required from 2020 to 2024. Key challenges are likely to include tackling the climate emergency, making sure the borough's economy grows with good jobs available, supporting children and young people to have the best start in life, helping more adults be independent and healthy and making all our communities a great place to live. We aim to engage our communities in the creation of the plan and in working together to ensure its success. The plan will be linked to the Council's budget plan to ensure we have the right resources to deliver against the challenges.
Qwest Services is a joint venture company, 49 per cent owned by the Council and 51 per cent owned by ENGIE, a multinational energy and service provider. Our contract with Qwest until 2025 provides us with a range of services, from business support and cleaning to delivering multimillion pound capital projects and digital transformation.
During 2018-19 the company:
- created 10 apprenticeship roles
- supported and enabled the Council to deliver critical projects, including roof replacement work at Chester Market and windows and damp course replacement work at the Grosvenor Museum, alongside the installation of a new security system.
- provided consistent service across the Council's estate, keeping its buildings open, safe and compliant
- delivered a significant programme of capital works on budget and on track, including work at Edsential's outdoor education site at the Conway Centre, Anglesey
- provided 1,229 hours of volunteering to various charities and events
- provided 1,367 hours of work experience placements, against a 300-hour target, including 148 hours for the Prince's Trust.
- provided two graduate placements
- raised £17,145 for local and national charities, more than double the £7,000 target
- sponsored the Winsford Oscars and the Girls Cheshire Football League, now renamed the Qwest Girls Football League.
- put aside 10 per cent of the net profit from capital works for its Community Fund
- won Premises and Facilities Management (PFM) Awards – Partners in Expert Services, Public Sector
- shortlisted for British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) Awards – Innovation in Technology and Systems
- launched domestic energy provider Qwest Energy, with a social value focus
- gave 96 hours to local employment initiatives, careers fairs, CV writing workshops and mock interviews.