Decision details

23/00072 - Property Accommodation Strategy - Strategic Headquarters (SHQ)

Decision Maker: Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


Reason for the decision:

Kent County Council’s (KCC’s) Strategic Headquarters requires significant investment to address building condition issues and deliver accommodation which is fit for purpose. This decision supports the Councils considerations in making best use of its resources and estate whilst remaining options are assessed. 



An options appraisal was previously undertaken based on the pre-pandemic working styles during early 2020. This appraisal was then revisited, taking into account the changes in the way that KCC need to work post the COVID-19 pandemic and a new accommodation model was developed which allowed a number of new options to be considered.  


The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services then took decision 21-00064 on 13 August 2021 to progress with the marketing of Blocks A, B and E of Sessions House for disposal and to develop an option for the refurbishment and modernisation of Blocks C and D predominately for civic uses and Invicta House as a staff hub.


In October 2022, given the Council’s significant financial challenges, the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member instructed officers to pause design work for the 2021 option and revisit the scope and present lower capital cost options. The £35m capital budget allocated to the project was reduced to £20m and endorsed by full Council in February 2023.  


Four lower cost options were considered and developed in further detail with both the qualitative and financial assessment. Two options failed the assessment with two options progressing passing the evaluation process.


Given the significantly lower overall Net Present Value (NPV) associated with one option in comparison to the other, further market testing is required to establish the market viability of a disposal of the whole or part of Sessions House that would satisfy the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) covenants requirements.  This remains a key project risk and is a determining factor which informs the next steps and the deliverability of either option.


Given that both options include the continued occupation by KCC of Invicta House, it is proposed to progress with the urgent maintenance works at Invicta House, including the required roof works. £3.4m will be allocated from the £20m approved capital budget in order to progress the design and completion of these works. 


How the proposed decision supports the Interim Strategic Plan:

SHQ and its future direction is a key strand of the office strategy as part of the Future Assets programme of the Strategic Reset Programme and the delivery of the Medium-Term Financial Plan (MTFP) savings.   


As the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services I agree to:

1.    AGREE to discontinue with the Preferred Option as set out decision 21-00064;

2.    NOTE AND AGREE the current business case and Value for Money assessment recommendations and that a further market test of Sessions House will be progressed to enable the next steps and approach to be agreed;

3.    ALLOCATE £3.4m from the 2023-33 approved capital budget to enable the essential and urgent backlog maintenance works at Invicta House to be completed; and

4.    AGREE to delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure in consultation with the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to authorise the execution of necessary contractual and land agreements required to implement the above with authority to take other relevant actions as required to implement the decision.

Publication date: 12/09/2023

Date of decision: 12/09/2023

Effective from: 20/09/2023

Accompanying Documents: