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."
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The Highland Council achieved a 6% reduction in its year-on-year carbon emissions in 2016/17, equivalent to a saving of over 4,000 tonnes of CO2. In addition, thanks to a variety of energy efficiency measures implemented throughout the organisation, the Council saved almost £180k compared to the previous year, despite increasing energy costs.
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Parent representatives from 206 Parent Councils across the Highland region have been invited to attend the Highland Parent Council Partnership conference which will be held on Saturday 18 Nov 2017 from 9:30am to 3:30pm. Guest speaker at the conference - to be held at Highland Council, Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness - will be John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.
The Highland Council have reviewed and updated the administrative procedures around miscellaneous and animal establishment licensing making it easier for people to access information and provide feedback. An online register of all applications is now published on the Council's website and the procedures are clear on how individuals or groups can raise concerns or object to applications for these types of licence.
The Highland Council remains on track to provide much-needed affordable homes for a growing population with a pledge in its Strategic Housing Plan 2018-2023 to approve 500 units each year of which 70% will be for affordable rent and 30% for low cost home ownership. Members of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee today (Wednesday 8 November) had the opportunity to discuss the Housing Investment Plan for 2018-2023 and to reaffirm the council's commitment to deliver new homes in the Highlands.
Following the collapse of a 15 metre section of road at Soldiers Rock on the Knoydart peninsula late on Tuesday 24 October, work is progressing on repairing the landslip on the single track road. A full inspection of the affected road has been carried out and a Highland Council engineer will be on site on Wednesday this week to carry out preliminary work before detailed survey work is carried out on Friday.
Resident's from across the Highlands have provided positive feedback to the council's latest Citizen's Panel survey. Each year the panel of just over 2300 adults are asked for their views on the performance of the council and to provide information on their attitudes to a range of issues affecting them, their families and their neighbourhoods.
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