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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Cognitive improvements to be included in Blue Badge scheme The disabled person's parking badge pilot, which was launched in April 2016, has been made permanent by the Scottish Government. The eligibility criteria were revised and extended under a pilot to allow carers and relatives of people who pose a risk to themselves or others in traffic to apply for a disabled person's parking badge, provided they meet the criteria.
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The British Hospitality Association secured a major victory today (21 December2017) as the Scottish Government confirmed that any plans for a ‘tourist tax' in Edinburgh - or any other Scottish cities - are firmly off the table. The BHA has been campaigning consistently for over six years against the implementation of any such additional and uncompetitive tax and is delighted that the Scottish Government has recognised our reservations.
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