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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 04/07/2001
ADDITIONAL GRANT IN RESPECT OF RENT REVIEW OF THE PREMISES
OF THE GODALMING CITIZENS ADVICE BUREAU



The purpose of this report is to advise the Committee that the rent of the premises occupied by the Godalming Citizens Advice Bureau, at 10 Queen Street Godalming, has been subject to a rent review. The review has been negotiated by a local surveyor on behalf of the Bureau. The Bureau have made a request for extra grant to meet this additional cost. The Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, on 25th June 2001 considered this matter and recommended that the request be not approved and that the Executive Committee recommend this to Council.
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APPENDIX E
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE – 4TH JULY 2001


Title:
ADDITIONAL GRANT IN RESPECT OF RENT REVIEW OF THE PREMISES
OF THE GODALMING CITIZENS ADVICE BUREAU
[Wards Affected: N/A]


Summary and Purpose

The purpose of this report is to advise the Committee that the rent of the premises occupied by the Godalming Citizens Advice Bureau, at 10 Queen Street Godalming, has been subject to a rent review. The review has been negotiated by a local surveyor on behalf of the Bureau. The Bureau have made a request for extra grant to meet this additional cost. The Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, on 25th June 2001 considered this matter and recommended that the request be not approved and that the Executive Committee recommend this to Council.

There are no direct environmental or “opportunities for all” implications arising from this report.



Introduction and Background

1. A letter has been received from the Chairman of the Godalming CAB Management Committee, advising the Council that the Bureau premises at 10 Queen Street, Godalming became subject to a rent review from 20th November 2000.

2. The agent acting for the Bureau’s landlord initially proposed that the rent be increased from the current rent of 17,500 per annum to 31,000 per annum. This was unacceptable to the Bureau who instructed a local surveyor to negotiate further. Subsequently, a new rent has been negotiated and accepted by the Bureau at 25,000 per annum.

3. The Bureau has also informed the Council that an additional grant of 1,060 is requested to pay for the cost of the surveyor who negotiated the rent review on behalf of the Bureau. As Members will be aware, it has been the Council’s policy to reimburse the CABx rent in full.

4. The Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered a report on this matter at its meeting on 25th June 2001 and recommended that: ‘The Executive Committee recommend to Council to advise Godalming Citizens Advice Bureau that their request for additional funding is not approved, and they look to fund the costs from within their existing budgets or find ways of generating additional income from their accommodation’.

Resource Implications

5. The additional grant requested in 2001/2002, in respect of rent, is estimated to be 11,970, which is made up of 7,500 full year’s increase plus arrears of 4,470. Additional grant is also sought, in respect of the surveyor’s costs payable by the Bureau, of 1,060. There is no budget available to meet the requests and a supplementary estimate of 13,030 would be required if Members agree to the request. The ongoing annual increase, from 2002/2003, would be 7,500.

6. The current years budget for the CABx is 191,831 comprised as follows:-
Summary of 2001/2002 Grant Allocations

7. In addition to the above grants, the Executive Committee has determined that up to 6 staff of the three Bureaux (Farnham CAB has its own reserved car parking spaces) be reimbursed the cost of the car parking charge whilst attending their respective CABx. The estimated cost in 2001/02 is 8,860 and 11,800 in future years.

Additional Funding Request

8. When the Council is faced with additional costs for running Waverley Borough Council services, officers are required to identify compensating savings to fund them. Management Board are of the view that this approach should be applied to partner organisations.

9. Given the size of the premises occupied by Godalming CAB, it is suggested that the CAB consider subletting their premises with a view to containing the costs of the rent review within their existing budget,

10. Godalming CAB’s Final Accounts for 2000/01 show no significant reserves.

Citizens’ Advice Bureaux Review

11. Currently, the District Audit Service on behalf of the Council is carrying out an independent value for money review of the four CABx within Waverley. A draft report of the review is not expected to be available until the end of June 2001 with the final report being produced at the end of July 2001.

Consideration by the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee

12. The Committee received a copy of a letter from Godalming CAB’s Treasurer, sent to the Director of Finance. This letter is attached for your information at Annexe 1.

13. A question was also raised, by the Treasurer of the Godalming CAB, in accordance with Standing Order 43 regarding the Council’s current policy in respect of the reimbursement of rent in full paid by Citizens Advice Bureaux in Waverley.

14. The Committee considered the matter at length and, in addition to its recommendation to the Executive Committee, made the following observations:

It was noted that the Godalming Citizens Advice Bureau does not generate a surplus and it would not be able to generate more income, at short notice, to meet the additional rent requirement; the recommendation had been put before the Committee without any negotiation with the Godalming CAB and the point was made that the Bureau could shut down.

Officers were questioned on the matter of assistance being given to the CAB with regard to the rent valuation, and the position was confirmed in that Waverley’s professional indemnity does not allow for internal officer advice to be given to external organisations.

Members were advised that a District Auditor Value for Money Review was currently underway with regard to Waverley’s CABx and suggestion was made that consideration of the policy should be put on hold until after the report of the review had been published.

Comment was made that the report clearly identified Godalming CAB rent payments as already high and, following the impending rental increase, would be yet higher than all other CABx in Waverley. Suggestion was made that the Bureau should look to operate from other less expensive premises but that in the meantime, Waverley should assist the Bureau during the difficult period.

Finally, the view was expressed that the request had been received late in the day and there was a reluctance to revise Waverley’s budget at this stage to meet this rent increase.

Recommendation

The Overview and Scrutiny Committee recommends to the Executive Committee that Council agree to the Godalming Citizens Advice Bureau being advised that their request for additional funding is not approved, and they look to fund the costs from within their existing budgets or find ways at generating additional income from their accommodation.



Background Papers (DoF)

Letter from Roffe Swayne, Chartered Accountants and Godalming CAB’s Treasurer, Mr M L Steel dated 22 June 2001.



CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Paul Wenham Telephone: 01483 869238
E-mail: pwenham@waverley.gov.uk

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