16 November 2016

Is the final decision on the recommendations in this report to be made at this meeting?



Courier Run Review


Final Decision-Maker

Democracy Committee

Lead Head of Service

Head of Policy and Communications

Lead Officer and Report Author

Angela Woodhouse, Head of Policy and Communications



Wards affected




This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee:

1.   That the Committee considers the options in this report and agrees what action should be taken in respect of the Courier Run having regard to Options A-E in this report.





This report relates to the following corporate priorities:

This report relates to the decisions made in respect of our priorities as it covers the printing and distribution of Agendas.

·         Keeping Maidstone Borough an attractive place for all

·         Securing a successful economy for Maidstone Borough






Democracy Committee

16 November 2016



Courier Run Review





1.1     At the start of the municipal year the Committee commissioned an officer review of the courier run. This work has been undertaken by a member of the finance team in consultation with corporate services and the mayoral team.







2.1     The Committee commissioned a review to look at the possible savings and future options for the printing and distribution of agendas for Councillors. At present agendas and reports are printed centrally by the council’s print room known as corporate support. Agendas are posted or more usually, delivered via the civic officers on a weekly courier run on a Friday. This can take   a civic officer the whole day to complete when delivering papers to all members for Full Council.


2.2     The review sought to identify both efficiency and cashable savings.  Officers examined the processes in the Corporate Support team for printing agendas and preparing for the courier run, to identify the officer time taken.  Data was used from 2015-16 to identify the costs of printing agendas  and running the van for the courier run. The van  is used for an internal post delivery on a Wednesday taking post to and from the satellite offices and services and the courier which only runs on Fridays . MBS, the team at the depot have also undertaken the courier run on occasions and this data has also been considered as part of the report.


The Process


2.3     Councillors are contacted at the start of the municipal year to find out what agendas they wish to receive. A distribution list is collated for each committee listing which Councillors are to receive the different agendas. All Councillors also receive an email with links to all agenda’s on line and via the intranet. Currently the access to the intranet does not include the exempt part 2 pages.


2.4     The Corporate Support team process for a print run for Agendas is as follows:


·         Email is received in print room inbox, with some instructions from user i.e. when needed, black & white / colour & stapled etc.

·         The operator sets up the job to print, checking that each appendix is set up on a new page.

·         Print distribution list for the particular committee to check number of copies required.

·         If there are any issues liaise with Democratic services to see if the format can be changed.

·         If the agenda refers to minutes of the previous meeting, these are accessed and 1 copy is printed on special minute paper.

·         Go through the distribution list and include copies of the agenda papers in the members appropriate pigeon hole.

·         In 2015/16 Corporate printing costs was identified as £13,000.


2.5     The Corporate Support team process for a Courier Run is as follows:


·       There is a set list of the order to deliver to members in number order. 

·         Work through the list in numerical order and empty any agenda papers from the members pigeon hole and include in appropriate green bag or address an envelope with Cllr’s name and number from the sheet.

·         Include in large box in strict numerical order.

·         List any names of councillors who will not be receiving a delivery.

·         This list will need to be emailed to Julie Webb.

·         Count number of deliveries; add to list of members who will not be receiving a delivery and check this comes back to the total number of members.


2.6     Estimated cost of providing the courier run:-


This is based on the mileage in 2015/16 and time collated by officers during the month of September 2016.  The mileage is an annual estimate using a figure of 70 miles per member courier run. The employee efficiency calculation is for one civic officer based on 5 minutes per mile.



Van costs based on £47.96 per day               £2062

Fuel costs, 3433 miles                                   £226

Total estimated cost                                   £2,288 (based on 43 instances)


Other employee efficiencies – Civic Officers     0.22 FTE

                  Corporate Support, minimal time preparing courier run






3.1     There are a number of options the Committee could consider in relation to the printing and distribution of agendas and other papers to Councillors.


3.2     Option A


Committee agendas continue to be printed but not delivered or posted



Vehicle costs, excluding fuel                    £4667

       Fuel costs                                             £ 226

       Postage (as per 2015/16 costs)             £1276


       Total cashable saving                          £6,189


Other employee efficiencies – Civic Officers     0.22 FTE

Corporate Support, minimal time preparing courier run



3.3   Option B


The system is upgraded to allow proper access to papers via ipads. Councillors and officers use ipads to access agenda papers. Councillors can request printed copies if they are unable to access/use the ipad to read papers. External organisations are no longer sent copies of the papers.




Vehicle costs, excluding fuel                     £4667

       Fuel costs                                               £ 226

       Corporate Printing costs                           £13,000

       Postage (as per 2015/16 costs )              £1276

      Total cashable saving                             £19,169

Other employee efficiencies – Civic Officers     0.22 FTE

                   Corporate Support, minimal time                                      preparing courier run

3.3    Option C


Posting agendas and not using the courier run showed we could make an efficiency saving of 0.22 FTE.  However this option could increase costs rather than decrease as any cashable savings from vehicle costs including fuel could be lost in costs of postage. 


3.4     Option D


  Identify other alternatives and solutions which may mix and match      some of the ideas in the options above.




3.5       Option E


Maintain the current approach, Councillors may still want to individually consider whether or not to use pads more to reduce the costs of printing and distributing papers.





4.1    The Committee is asked to consider all the options and identify what would be appropriate.


4.2    Points for consideration:


·         MBC Debt recovery is in need of a van so could take this over if it was no longer needed

·         The pool car can be booked for the internal mail delivery or staff travelling from satellite services could take and deliver internal post

·         The efficiency in staff time from civic officers is minimal so would not result in a direct saving, however it may make it easier to organise supporting meetings and the mayors events plus assisting the Mayor’s PA with other duties

·         Exempt reports cannot be accessed electronically on modern as access is via the public facing site. Exempt papers could be emailed  or printed and sent to Councillors separately.

·         Councillors have printing equipment via the council. Based on the list of different types of print cartridges for 2015/16 there were 39 members, or 71% who had access to their own printer. In financial year 2015/16 members incurred costs of £3,513 and purchased 138 print cartridges based on 28 different types.

·         Committee meetings could be used to distribute agendas to save postal costs if appropriate and/or Councillors attending the offices could collect papers from the officers.

·         Councillors are required under legislation to give consent to receiving summons for meetings electronically and not in paper from for the Committee meetings they are members of. There are no rules governing how we deliver agendas to those who are not on the Committee.

·         32 iPads have been issued however they currently only provide restricted access as they are locked down for security reasons. Discussions have taken place with IT to see whether this can be amended. Based on a report as of the 5 September 2016 ipads or other devices were last logged into:


·         Within the last week                             17

·         Within the last month                           5

·         Within the last 2 months                       1

·         Within the last 3 months                       1

·         Between 3- 6 months                           1

·         More than 12 months                           11


Total Number of devices                  36

(Includes 4 devices not issued by MBC)





5.1     The Committee is asked to consider this as part of its review.




6.1     The Committee will need to communicate its decision to all councillors in relation to the courier run. The next steps will depend on which options the Committee wishes officers to pursue.








Impact on Corporate Priorities

This report relates to the decisions made in respect of our priorities as it covers the printing and distribution of Agendas.

Head of Policy and Communications

Risk Management

All the options carry risk and Councillors will need to consider this as part of the decision making process

Head of Policy and Communications


The report offers options for savings and efficiencies

Section 151 Officer & Finance Team


Some of the options will have staffing implications in terms of changing staff activity.

Head of Policy and Communications


There is a legal requirement that a summons to attend the meeting is sent to every member on the committee by either leaving it at, or posting it to, their place of residence or other address if specified by the member.  Where consent has been given the summons can be transmitted electronically.

Interim Deputy Head of Legal Partnership

Equality Impact Needs Assessment

Individual needs will have to be assessed and met when considering the distribution of agendas and papers to ensure there is not disadvantage and everyone has access to reports and papers for meetings

Head of Policy and Communications

Environmental/Sustainable Development

Some of the options have positive environmental impacts such as reducing the number of agendas printed and reducing distribution by van

Head of Policy and Communications

Community Safety


Head of Policy and Communications

Human Rights Act

Access to information procedure rules need to be abided by.

Head of Policy and Communications


Not all councillors have ipads and a change to the courier run may incur cost and procurement of extra IT equipment.

Head of Policy and Communications

Asset Management

IT equipment.

Head of Policy and Communications




The following documents are to be published with this report and form part of the report:


Appendix A: Reports produced by Committee