East Lothian Council spend on headquarters will save £850,000

Friday August 4th 2023


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

East Lothian Council is spending over £320,000 refurbishing its headquarters ahead of changes it says will save up to £850,000 a year.

The local authority is moving staff from its Randall House offices, in Macmerry, into its Haddington head office and currently has local joiners carrying out work in the building.

But while a recent report on contracts handed out by the council revealed that Wallyford based firm RP Slight and Sons had won the work with a bid of just over £320,000, a council spokesperson said it will save money in the long term.

They said the work will increase available staff accommodation in John Muir House, in Haddington while the closure of Randall House will save £850,000 a year.

The procurement report for the first quarter of this year revealed that in total 12 contracts which were below the regulated procurement thresholds had been awarded by heads of services with a total value of just over £1.5m.

They range from £350,000 for carriageway surface dressing to Kiely Bros Ltd to £22,000 for a new 4×4 vehicle from Suzuki.

A council spokesperson said the new Suzuki car was bought by environmental and protective services to replace a leased vehicle and was a plugin hybrid which would be used by staff carrying out rural duties such as water testing in remote areas.

They said of the headquarters work and new car: “East Lothian Council has set capital budget efficiency savings of £20M over the next five years.

“To achieve this we are looking to reduce our assets and consolidating services in our office buildings.

“To meet such ambitious targets and reduce our asset footprint we need to invest prudently and update some of our existing property portfolio which this work is part of.

“All expenditure is closely monitored to make sure purchases provide best value while meeting business needs within our challenging budget context.

“In both of these cases, the council will benefit from financial savings following this initial outlay. This benefit is especially evident when it comes to our building assets.”

RP Slight and Sons also received a contract to replace windows at St Gabriels Primary School for just under £95,000 while a £319,000 contract for surfacing carriageways in Musselburgh was handed to Edinburgh based ECR Surfacing Ltd and £132,000 contract for remedial work at Port Seton Centre was awarded to Ashwood Scotland Ltd.

The remaining contracts were: £50,000 for energy efficiency work to BCA Insulation Ltd; £35,145 for a tracked chipper for Forestry to James A. Cuthbertson Limited; £37, 631 for road vehicle restraint systems to WI & A GIlbert; £150,000 for drainage works to DAMM Environmental Ltd; £25, 107 for furniture and sensory equipment for severe and complex needs to Rompa Ltd; and £36,500 for a one year pilot Foundation Apprenticeship in childcare to Training For Care Scotland.

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