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 has elected Councillor Margaret Davidson as Council Leader at its meeting today, 18 May 2017. Councillor Alasdair Christie was elected Depute Leader and Councillor Bill Lobban was elected Convener of the Council.
MFR Cash for Kids Charity Car Boot Sale is the latest recruit to be signed up by Highland Council Trading Standards to join the Real Deal scheme. The scheme was launched six years ago in a bid to stamp out the illegal trade in fake goods at markets and to ensure businesses are fully compliant with the relevant laws.
From 21 May 2017, people aged 60 and over who currently benefit from Highland Council’s rail concessionary travel scheme are being advised that half fare rail concessions for the majority of entitled Highland residents will cease. Free travel remains available by bus, and card holders are advised to keep their entitlement cards which can still be used on bus routes throughout Scotland.
Councillor Margaret Davidson announced today that an agreement had been reached to form anew administration to run Highland council for the next five years. Councillor Davidson will once again be the leader of the council and she said,"We are pleased to announce that a coalition of Independents, Liberal Democrats and Labour Councillors have formed an Administration to take Highland Council forward for the next five years.
The transformation of future learning in Highland schools was discussed by around 100 head teachers at a Science and Technology Conference last week in Inverness. Key speakers from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, the Wood Foundation, Education Scotland, FIRST Scandinavia and the Science and Skills Academy addressed the conference on the importance of STEM experiences and qualifications for young people in the Highlands.
The official process to elect Members of Parliament to represent the three UK Highland constituencies has begun. Returning Officer, Steve Barron, Chief Executive of The Highland Council, was yesterday (Thursday 4 May) hand delivered three writs, instructing him to conduct an election for the Highland UK Parliamentary constituencies.
The results for the 2017 Highland Council elections have been declared. They are as follows: Independent 28 Scottish Conservative and Unionist 10 Scottish Green Party 1 Scottish Labour Party 3 Scottish Liberal Democrats 10 Scottish National Party (SNP) 22 Total elected 74 The first meeting of the new Council will be held on Thursday 18 May when the office-bearers will be confirmed.
People in the Highlands are being invited to drop in to new Digital Café sessions which could save them significant amounts of money. The Highland Council in partnership with other Highland Social Landlords and the social enterprise company Libertie are hosting a series of mobile Digital Café events during May 2017.
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.
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