Highland Council Signs New Deal To Save Millions
20th April 2017
Mears signs new cost savings deal on PPP Highland schools project.
Mears has signed a new deal with the Highland Council which will see millions of pounds saved over the lifetime of the Private Public Partnership (PPP) Highland Schools Project.
The company entered into a 30-year contract with Alpha Schools (Highlands) and the council to carry out Total Facilities Management services on 10 new schools which were opened in 2007.
With 20 years remaining on the project, the targeted cost reduction measures are set to deliver substantial savings to the council, without compromising the quality of the services being delivered by Mears.
Highland is the largest local authority area in the UK and the wide geographical spread of the schools requires Mears to implement innovative methods of planning and service delivery.
Mears uses local sub-contractors to assist in the delivery of the works. Many schools also have facilities which are open to the public and act as community hubs - such as libraries, swimming pools, leisure centres, arts centres, adult education centres and offices.
The agreement ensures the continued satisfactory operation and maintenance of each site with a set of additional agreements that safeguards the Highland Council's financial risk in any given year.
Tony Smith, Mears managing director of facilities management, said: "We are delighted that our excellent working relationship with the Highland Council has enabled us to identify improvements and deliver further savings for the partnership. We understand the financial pressures local authorities are under and we work hard to deliver innovative services.
“Our Highland Schools contract challenges our team to deliver a comprehensive service, incorporating highly specialist works, in an environment which demands the highest safety and compliance standards.
“To put into perspective how comprehensive our service is, Mears maintains and is responsible for everything within each of the 10 school buildings apart from the actual teaching of students and academic support services. We think of it as providing facilities which allow education to excel."
Brian Porter, head of resources for care and learning within the Highland Council, added: “The improvements and cost savings in this new deal are significant and are the results of our close working partnership with Mears and Alpha Schools (Highlands). To date, Mears has delivered excellent services for us that are both safe and innovative – we view them not as a contractor, but as a long-term business partner and stakeholder.”
Bill Fernie, chairman of the Resources committee and Budget Leader said, "The council will continue to try and get the best value from the money we spend and long-term this latest contract helps us to make savings easing other areas within the budget spend each year."
The Highland Council and partners are advising motorists of temporary road closures and speed restrictions which will be in place next weekend (22 - 23 April) during the Etape Loch Ness cycling event. The restrictions and prohibitions which are being put in place are for participants' safety and to allow the Etape to take place on public roads.
A Local business has been found in contempt of court after breaching an Enforcement Order previously issued following action taken by Highland Council Trading Standards. On the 12th April 2017 at Inverness Sherriff Court Ms Diane Urquhart, Director of Inverness Fireplace and Heating Centre and Mr Michael Armour also of Inverness Fireplace and Heating Centre were found in breach of an Enforcement Order issued under the Enterprise Act 2002 and in contempt of court.
The Highland Council advises that Non-Domestic Rates (NDR) bills for 2017/18 are now being issued. NDR is also known as Business Rates.
Voters are reminded of the deadlines for both registering to vote and applying to vote by post in the forthcoming Highland Council elections on Thursday 4 May. Registration: To be able to vote in the elections, voters must be 16 years or over on 4 May 2017 and must be registered to vote.
In response to a call for evidence on the impact of city-region deals in Scotland, by a Scottish Parliament Committee, Highland Council Director of Development and Infrastructure, Stuart Black said:"It is very early days to assess the impact of the City-Region Deal, however, it is anticipated that the impact of the Deal on Inverness and the wider Highland region will be significant in securing the long term productivity and economic growth of the region and position it as a region of digital opportunity. Regional partners estimate that the City-Region Deal funding of £315m could unlock up to an additional £800 million of investment by the private sector.
With Scottish Council elections taking place in just a few weeks, voters in the Highlands are being urged to make sure they are registered to vote and are able to take part on polling day, Thursday 4 May. The call for voters to sign up comes as the Electoral Commission launches a national voter registration campaign to encourage as many people as possible to register ahead of the elections taking place this year.
The Highland Council has awarded a contract to a world leading engineering design firm to carry out comprehensive flood protection studies for two Highland coastal towns. Thurso on the north coast and Golspie on the east coast have both suffered from flooding incidents over the years that has affected domestic and business properties and resulted in both towns being identified as Potentially Vulnerable Areas (PVAs) in the Highland and Argyll Local Flood Risk Management Plan.
The elections for the 74 seats on The Highland Council, being held on Thursday 4 May, will involve 165 candidates contesting all of the 21 multi-member wards. Caithness will now only have two wards instead of three.
The 2017 Highland Council election has been officially called today (Monday 13 March) with the Returning Officer seeking nominations from candidates wishing to stand in the local government elections which take place on Thursday 4 May. A total of 74 Councillors will be appointed to represent the Council in 21 electoral wards, each with three or four elected members.
Wipro has opened a new delivery centre in Inverness as part of our growth plan and service delivery for the Highland Council. 40 to 50 staff will be based at Moray House in the city centre.
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