Agenda item - Public Conveniences

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Agenda item

Public Conveniences

Report of the Executive Director Economy, Environment & Culture (copy attached)

 

Decision:

RESOLVED:            That the Committee agreed to –

 

(i)            The introduction of a 30p charge at 11 public convenience sites detailed in section 3.12;

 

(ii)          City Environmental Management accessing £550,000 from the Capital Investment Programme in order to refurbish 12 public toilet sites;

 

(iii)         Grant delegated authority to the Executive Director for Economy, Environment & Culture to profile the capital funding across each of the 12 public toilet sites and manage the refurbishment programme through an internal project team;

 

(iv)         The establishment of a reserve fund in which to ring fence surplus income for the refurbishment of additional public convenience sites in the future.

 

Minutes:

61.1    The Committee considered the report of the Executive Director for Economy, Environment & Culture which sought approval to introduce charging within 11 of the 37 public conveniences in the city. The income generated through charging would be shared between the Council and the contractor. The report also sought approval to access the Capital Investment Programme funding to proceed with the much needed refurbishment programme.

 

61.2    Councillor Mitchell said that the comments made at the last Policy Resources & Growth (PR&G) Committee had been taken on board, and additional information on both the contract and previous decisions on this matter had been included in the report. Income generated from the charges would enable public conveniences to be improved, with the toilets in the Pavilion Gardens the first to be refurbished. If the recommendations were not agreed there would be an impact on the budget.

 

61.3    Councillor Peltzer Dunn referred to paragraph 3.15 which said that income generated for the Council could be as much as £70k in the first year, but in paragraph 3.21 it said that Healthmatic would be allocated the first £75k income per annum, with the remainder split between 70/30 in favour of the Council. He asked if the £75k for Healthmatic would come directly from the income, or from profit after costs had been accounted for. The Executive Director for Economy, Environment & Culture said he didn’t have a copy of the contract with him but his understanding was that the money for Healthmatic, and the split, would be based on the income collected from those toilets. Councillor Peltzer Dunn asked if the Council were paying Healthmatic for their services, and was advised that there was a contract fee which covered cleaning and maintenance.

 

61.4    Councillor Peltzer Dunn noted that if the recommendations were agreed, that the contract would commence in 2020, and asked if there would be a budget impact before that. The Executive Director for Economy, Environment & Culture said he didn’t have that information to hand but would provide out of the meeting.

 

61.5    Councillor Peltzer Dunn asked for confirmation that toilet paper would not be provided through a vending machine, and was assured that it would not.

 

61.6    Councillor Janio said that when the contract with Healthmatic was signed, the Committee should have been informed that the investment of £600k was dependent on the agreement to charge for the public conveniences, and added that he had not seen the contract despite asking to. Councillor Mitchell said that charging to use toilets had always been part of the business plan, and referred to the report PR&G considered at its meeting in October 2016 which set out the potential to charge for using public conveniences. Councillor Mitchell was sorry that he had not seen a copy of the contract, and if he had asked her she would have provided one.

 

61.7    Councillor Bell referred to the Financial Implications section and noted that it said ‘…the recommendation to charge for all toilets’, and asked for confirmation that it only meant the ‘twelve’ toilets. The Executive Director for Economy, Environment & Culture said that it did. Councillor Bell said that the Financial Implications said that there was a risk that the income levels required may not be achieved which could impact on other budget savings, and asked for more information. The Executive Director for Economy, Environment & Culture said that there would be savings through income generated, and if the necessary levels weren’t achieved savings would need to be made elsewhere in the city.

 

61.8    Councillor Janio said that if it had been clear that the capital investment of £602k was reliant on charging for twelve sites, the earlier decision by PR&G to delegate power to officers to sign the contract may have been different. He was concerned that the tender was not put forward to a series of contractors, and if it wasn’t he could not agree with the process and would speak to the Chair of the Audit & Standards Committee. The Executive Director for Economy, Environment & Culture referred to paragraph 3.3 which set out what the Invitation to Tender required the contractors to undertake. At the point that PR&G agreed for officers to procure that contract, the report did outline that income generation would help upgrade and safeguard current provision. Councillor Janio said that when delegating to officers, councillors should have been given the full facts. Councillor Mitchell said that the contract had been considered by the cross party members group.

 

61.9    Councillor Wealls asked if the 70/30 split was agreed before or after Healthmatic were appointed. The Executive Director for Economy, Environment & Culture said that was part of the bid and was made prior to the contractor being appointed.

 

61.10  Councillor Mac Cafferty asked if there had been consideration to bringing the service back in-house, and whether there had been any liaison with homeless charities to allow some people to have free access to the toilets. The Executive Director for Economy, Environment & Culture said that all sites would be subject to Equality Impact Assessments and that radar keys would be available to all those who needed them. With regard to bringing the service back in-house, that had been one of the options when the matter was previously considered by this committee in 2016.

 

61.11  Councillor Peltzer Dunn asked if the toilets identified for upgrade would provide improved provision for ladies, as there was often a queue for female toilets. The Executive Director for Economy, Environment & Culture said that all toilets would be subject to an Equalities Impact Assessment to ensure suitable provision for all.

 

61.12  Councillor Daniel said that all councillors had been aware that there would have to be a charge if toilets were to be upgraded, and if the recommendations were not agreed the toilets would fall into disrepair.

 

61.13  RESOLVED:            That the Committee agreed to –

 

(i)            The introduction of a 30p charge at 11 public convenience sites detailed in section 3.12;

 

(ii)          City Environmental Management accessing £550,000 from the Capital Investment Programme in order to refurbish 12 public toilet sites;

 

(iii)         Grant delegated authority to the Executive Director for Economy, Environment & Culture to profile the capital funding across each of the 12 public toilet sites and manage the refurbishment programme through an internal project team;

 

(iv)         The establishment of a reserve fund in which to ring fence surplus income for the refurbishment of additional public convenience sites in the future.

 

Supporting documents:

 


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