Call on Mid Suffolk and Babergh to make headquarters review public

Brian Riley

Brian Riley - Credit: Archant

Pressure is on Babergh and Mid Suffolk to make public a review which analysed how the councils use their headquarters.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils spent £24,000 on property consultants Lambert Smith and Hampton to carry out the “accommodation review”.

The results were published earlier this year but not the full report. Following this both councils opted to pursue a “hubs and spokes” model which would likely see an administrative hub built – either in the Ipswich fringe area or at Suffolk County Council – with several smaller offices in the districts’ key towns.

Andrew Hunkin, the councils’ corporate strategic director, said in May that the report would be “publicly available” by the end of the summer.

Brian Riley, a Hadleigh district councillor, has been calling on the councils to publish the review publicly.

He highlighted detail in the report which said to keep the Hadleigh headquarters of Babergh and dispose of Mid Suffolk’s base in Needham Market would be the most prudent.

On hearing that the councils may fully publish the review, he said: “This is good news I am happy that the commercially sensitive information will be held in a confidential manner, but it’s very important that the people of Hadleigh, Babergh and Mid Suffolk see what is in the report.

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“Transparency is the watch word for local government and any government that is not transparent people will assume that things are being hidden and have come to the wrong conclusion.

“The point about favouring Hadleigh is that’s where the figures add up to, if the figures did not add up my position would not be sustainable.

“If we were based in Ipswich the residents would have a great deal of difficulty in holding people to account, this is what it is all about transparency and accountability.”

Mr Hunkin said: “A report by Lambert Smith and Hampton, the consultants which conducted the review, was used to produce the committee paper that was presented to members so that they were able to make a decision on the next steps to be taken.

“The report can be made publicly available but, as is the case with these such reports, all commercially-sensitive information will have to be redacted first.”