In September 2018, the PCC decided not to extend SopraSteria’s contract to provide services to Cleveland Police beyond its10-year term.
On the return of these services in October 2020, the organisation will need to accomodate about 100 staff. Currently, they do not work from a PCC-owned building.
However, the current estate does not have sufficient capacity to accommodate these staff.
Work has been ongoing over the last year to look at various options. There have been appraisals on a number of potential purchases.
In addition to the space needed for staff, there is also a likely increase in space that will result from increases in staff to support the expected Uplift in Police Officers, which has been announced at national level.
An expected increase in police officers locally will also see a proportionate increase in police staff. Initial indications are that these posts could total 60-80 full-time equivalents (FTEs) for Cleveland
Police are expected to be funded in line with the additional funding for additional Police Officers.
A market search and subsequent assessment identified that St Marks House had the potential to accommodate the return of SopraSteria staff.
It also would provide much-needed flexibility in terms of space to meet future growth. The building would also provide higher quality accommodation for existing operational teams.
The market for a property of the size required, for the known and expected needs of the organisation, is however limited.
Some of the properties, which the OPCC looked at, weren’t openly marketed for sale.
Around 10 properties were considered during the search. They were considered in terms of whether they met the needs of the organisation.
The organisation looked at floor space, location, parking and amenities for staff. In addition, it looked at whether the purchase and running costs would be affordable to the PCC as well as provide value for money.
The proposal to purchase St Marks House has the following benefits:
- The scope to accommodate around 180 desks across the first and second floors of the building.
- Scope to use the ground floor for a number of potential options, depending on the organisation’s future estates strategy
- The building is located only a very short distance (around 200yds) from the building that the SopraSteria staff currently work from and therefore it will have no additional costs for all parties to travel to work.
- There is parking on site. It is also available in the surrounding areas where many of the transferring staff will already park.
In terms of value for money, the agreed purchase price for the building will be £800k excluding VAT. The building is around 16,000 square feet so this equates to £50 per square foot.
The price has been compared to other buildings looked at during this process. It has been compared to seven known sales, which have taken place over the last few years in the area of similar-sized buildings.
A professional valuer used these sales for comparison purposes in valuing all of the buildings owned by the PCC as of 31 March 2019.
At £50, the purchase of this building, on a per-square foot basis, represents better value than all of these other similar properties.