Development and Regulatory Services (DRS)
What is the DRS project?
The Development and Regulatory Services (DRS) project is part of the One Barnet programme.
The council has identified there are significant benefits to be gained from working with a private sector partner to provide a range of services relating particularly to the built environment and the environmental health of the borough.
We want to improve citizens’ experience, enhance the quality of services and meet our efficiency targets. We want a partner who can help us develop, enhance and protect Barnet’s built environment, while minimising the cost of these services to residents. Working together, we will support the financial and economic development of the borough.
The following services will be provided by the DRS provider:
- Building Control
- Planning Administration (Development Management)
- Strategic Planning and Regeneration
- Highways Services
- Land Charges.
- Environmental Health
- Trading Standards and Licensing
- Cemetery and Crematorium.
How will it work?
The council is currently in competitive dialogue with two potential bidders, EC Harris and Capita Symonds. This is part of an intensive procurement process, which makes sure the council has got the best deal for residents from the new provider.
The preferred bidder will be selected later this year and services will move to the new provider next spring. Residents will not immediately notice any difference in the way the services are delivered but investment from the new provider will mean that services become more efficient. Services will, of course, remain subject to political decision making, ie. planning committees will continue to sit.
We are currently reviewing, in discussion with sponsoring members, the option of a joint venture. It is believed that the combination of the skills of council staff with the experience and technology of an experienced private sector company would allow us to maximise the benefits of regeneration and potentially provide a revenue-generating opportunity for the council. The final decision on this will be made by members in the new year.
- this project is expected to save the council at least £26m cumulatively over the next 10 years. If these savings were not made, then Council Tax would have to increase by 2 per cent or around £20 per household.
- services will work more efficiently through investment in new technology, for example computer mapping
- combining the skills of council staff with the experience and technology of an experienced private sector company will allow us to maximise the benefits of regeneration
- increased community involvement in improving the quality of the built and natural environment.
How were decisions made?
- Cabinet approved plans to proceed with procurement for a provider to deliver these services in November 2010
- a Business Case was reviewed and approved by Cabinet in March 2011 - Cabinet approval of business case
- an updated business case was reviewed and approved by Cabinet Resources Committee in December 2011.