Libraries Divestment Programme

“The work that has been done has allowed three SCC services to be run using a new business model, which has enabled a reduction in cost and overheads, whilst maintaining service levels. The putting in place of the various agreements allows Suffolk County Council to continue to effectively and efficiently manage their portfolio of properties occupied by SLIPS, LL and RF.” – JadeTurner, Senior Estates Surveyor, Concertus

The Brief: In order to allow Suffolk Libraries Industrial & Provident Society (SLIPS), Leading Lives (LL) and Realise Futures (RF) to operate from SCC’s properties, Concertus was asked to deal with the transactions on 81 different properties. This included new leases and underleases, the licences and licences to underlet, as well as managing outstanding rent reviews and head lease renewals.

The Aim: The aim of the project is to allow these three services to be run using a different business model outside of SCC. With the help of volunteers, community groups and savings in business rates, the costs savings will allow the services to be maintained when budgets are being reduced.

The Scope: Estates surveyors inspected the properties to check boundaries, site features and internal layouts to ascertain the accommodation occupied by the various users within the buildings. Lease plans for different occupiers had to be drawn up and agreed with the client and users within the building. We also reached agreements on the management of common areas at the properties. Advice was given on various parts of the leases and agreements were reached with tenants on various issues including helping to prepare a detailed schedule of repair and maintenance responsibilities, service charge provisions, lift and shift clauses and other matters.

Heads of terms were agreed, solicitors instructed and advice was given to resolve legal issues to allow transactions to be completed. Regular progress meetings were held with the client, solicitors and tenants to resolve issues as early as possible to ensure transactions progressed and completed as quickly as possible.

The Result: This has allowed three SCC services to be run using a new business model, which has enabled a reduction in cost and overheads, whilst maintaining service levels. The cost savings have mainly been achieved by using volunteers and community groups, but there has also been savings achieved through the national non-domestic rates.

The putting in place of the various agreements allows SCC to continue to effectively and efficiently manage their portfolio of properties occupied by SLIPS, LL and RF.