Changes to the children’s services buildings used in Reading that saves £500,000 have been given the go ahead.

Earlier this month, planned changes to the buildings used by Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC), the council’s children’s service company, were revealed, with the changes now being approved.

It means BFfC will vacate The Avenue School in Tilehurst, 16 North Street and Ranikhet Academy, but enter new premises at 1 Dunsfold Road, 330 Northumberland Avenue and Dee Park Community Centre.

Although the number of buildings used has increased from 12 to 13, total charges for the use of them is calculated to decrease by over £500,000 (£566,076).

The changes were unanimously approved by Reading Borough Council’s policy committee yesterday (Monday, July 13).

The premises review was undertaken by the council’s property and asset management department and councillor Micky Leng (Labour, Whitley), lead member for assets.

Endorsing the changes, cllr Leng said: “Reading’s children’s services company could see a spend reduction of half a million pounds. That’s the grab.”

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

But that is calculated to go down to £1.696 million (£1,696,816) now the review has been adopted, with the spend on individual buildings fluctuating due to changes in rent and facilities management charges.

Cllr Anne Thompson (Liberal Democrats, Tilehurst) questioned why facilities management charges had increased in some cases, but stayed the same in other cases.

For example, facilities management charges for Whitley Health Building, the BFfC base for its health visitors, has gone up by £3,176 – from £32,933 to £36,109.

Cllr Leng said he would ask officers to investigate why some costs had increased if needed.

But ultimately, the council calculated the spend will go down by £566,076, with a significant saving of £421,971 being made due to BFfC vacating The Avenue School, part of which is being redeveloped to provide 60 more places for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

The 150 BFfC staff which did work at The Avenue will now work variously at 330 Northumberland Avenue in Whitley, other offices and flexibly from home.

The changes also mean BFfC’s Youth Offending Services will move from 16 North Street to Katesgrove Community Centre.

Number 1 Dunsfold Road in Tilehurst will be used as a new contact centre for BFfC, and services currently located in Rankihet Academy are set to be moved Dee Park Community Centre, which is under construction and set to be completed by September this year.

Ranikhet Academy itself is set for redevelopment as well, as plans to rebuild the primary school in Tilehurst -allowing it to double its pupil numbers- were approved in March.

Cllr Graeme Hoskin (Labour, Norcot), commenting on the amount of sites used, said: “It’s a really good reminder to us as councillors of the range of services that are embedded in communities in the town. That’s something that’s always worth remembering.”

Cllr Leng thanked the Local Democracy Reporting Service for its coverage.