Cabinet asked to give green light to new service partnership

Ref: PR 8292
Date: 19/07/2016

Wakefield Council's Cabinet is being asked to give the go ahead to award a major contract, which will see the Council working with an external partner to deliver all its property and facilities services.

Following a robust and highly competitive tendering process, a company called ENGIE have emerged as the preferred partner.

If the deal gets the green light from Wakefield Council's Cabinet at a meeting on 26 July, the new partnership will deliver facilities management, building services, property and asset management, building cleaning, school meals and buildings related architectural design and related services.

The proposed partnership heralds the start of one of the Council's biggest ever changes to the way it delivers services. It is expected to provide high quality services and opportunities for future growth and investment, whilst protecting jobs and delivering major savings for the Council.

The scale of the financial challenge facing the Council is huge. After already seeing cuts of £119m made to its budget, Wakefield Council needs to find a further £27m of savings this year, with more cuts to come. The Government has already said that by the end of this decade, Wakefield Council will have to save £185m.

Cllr David Dagger, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services said: "The unprecedented scale of savings we need to make means that we must look at new ways of delivering services in the future. However, we are totally committed to ensuring that 'doing things differently' also means improvement, sustainability and growth for these services and protection for jobs.

"These priorities are at the forefront of the bid submitted by ENGIE and we are confident that the partnership will enable a more efficient and modern approach, where the services, customers and staff will benefit from private sector expertise."

Approximately 800 employees work in the services which will come under the new partnership. Once the contract is finalised they will be transferred to ENGIE in accordance with TUPE regulations.

Cllr Dagger said: "One of the key drivers behind this project was to keep jobs in the district, with more security than the Council can currently provide. The harsh reality is that without this new partnership we could not protect jobs in these areas.

"We have worked extensively with staff and trade union representatives throughout the process and they recognise the safeguards that have been built into the contract. There is a commitment to continue working with them to ensure the partnership is a success and people's jobs are secure."

ENGIE are leading providers of integrated services specialising in energy, technical, facilities management and business process solutions for the built environment.

Wilfrid Petrie, ENGIE's CEO – UK & Ireland said: "ENGIE is delighted to have achieved Preferred Bidder status following a very detailed procurement programme with the Council. We are looking forward to the successful conclusion of final contract negotiations and working in partnership with the Council to deliver high quality, efficient services which support both communities within Wakefield and the wider local economy."

The full report will be discussed at the Cabinet Meeting on 26 July at 10.30am in Wakefield's Town Hall.

If Cabinet give approval to award the contract, officers will then start to finalise any outstanding points. It is anticipated that the contract will be in place later this year.