A review into the childrens services buildings used by Reading council’s childrens services company could see a spend reduction of over half a million pounds.

Next week, Reading Borough Council’s policy committee will consider a review of what buildings it uses as facilities for Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC), its childrens services company.

BFfC is wholly owned by the council, and currently operates services out of 12 buildings across Reading.

The review conducted by the council’s executive director for economic growth and neighbourhood services has proposed that the services could be run from 13 locations.

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The proposed changes are laid out in a report to the council’s policy committee.

The report proposes using 330 Northumberland Avenue as office space for BFfC staff.

BFfC will also be leaving The Avenue School in Tilehurst so it can be redeveloped to provide 60 more places for special needs (SEND) students.

The redevelopment of The Avenue was approved in February this year, but has meant 150 staff will have to be based elsewhere, including at 330 Northumberland Avenue.

Reading Chronicle: 330 Northumberland Avenue in Reading. Credit: Google Maps330 Northumberland Avenue in Reading. Credit: Google Maps

The report states: “Due to the agreement to develop the Avenue for SEN provision, notice was advised to BFfC for The Avenue Centre.

“BFfC are reducing their office requirements in line with a more flexible way of working, so a full like for like replacement for The Avenue Centre is not required.

“BFfC have requested some alternative office accocommodation and 330 Northumberland Avenue has been proposed as the alternative.”

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Other changes to BFfC facilities include using Sun Street Youth and Community Centre, and making changes to BFfC services at Katesgrove Community Centre.

Much of the facilities which were at Katesgrove Community Centre has been moved to Sun Street Community Centre, with the council now proposing to use Katesgrove Community Centre to acommodate the Youth Offending Service and hire for community groups.

Although the Youth Offending Service is currently located at 16 North Street, there are fears the landlord could evict BFfC staff.

Reading Chronicle: 16 North Street in Reading, the current home of the Youth Offending Service in the town. Credit: Google Maps16 North Street in Reading, the current home of the Youth Offending Service in the town. Credit: Google Maps

The report states: “The Youth Offending Service  under BFfC currently delivers services from a leased in building at 16 North Street.

“There is a continued risk that the Landlord can serve notice to seek possession and the recommendation is to relocate the service to

provide secure council owned premises.”

Use of all these buildings cost money in rental charges and facilities management charges.

The council’s property and asset management department predicts the total charges could be reduced by £566,076.

Currently, a total of £2.262 million (£2,262,892) is spent on the 12 buildings used by BFfC.

It is predicted that could go down to £1.696 million (£1,696,816) if the building review is adopted.

The changes are set to be voted on by the council’s policy committee in a meeting on Monday, June 13.