Create Partnership Trust, based in Birmingham, is a Multi Academy Trust of four Primary Schools: Brookfields Primary School, Conway Primary School, Greet Primary School and Hodge Hill Primary School.
Until January 2020, the Trust’s cleaning services provision was a mix of in-house run services at three of the schools and an externally outsourced contract at one school. The in-house provision was effectively forced when Cityserve (their previous cleaning provider, run by Birmingham City Council) exited all school cleaning contracts in 2018. At the time the Trust was not in a position to run a procurement process to tender for outsourced support and so chose to bring the provision in-house until such time as they were able to do so. Meanwhile, the outsourced service had been in contract for almost 14 years and never been re-tendered in that time.
In early 2019, the Trust decided to consolidate the service, moving all schools to a single outsourced contract.
Minerva was engaged by the Trust to manage the tender from start to finish. The first step was to assess the annual contract value, this can be a difficult process for an inhouse provision if cleaning consumables are not recorded accurately. A cleaning contract value should encompass all costs associated with the operation of the service: chemicals, disposables, staffing and on-costs, etc. As the value for the ‘whole life’ of the contract (decided upon as a 3+1+1 term) exceeded the OJEU threshold of £181,302*, a fully OJEU compliant tender process, in line with the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 was required.
Minerva provided a checklist, to be completed by the Trust, which covered all aspects of the service. The information was used by Minerva to put together a robust Memorandum of Information (MoI) to be issued to prospective bidders. Since this contract had very specific requirements; LGPS, four sites across two providers, a number of vacancies, to name but a few, Minerva took steps to understand the service provision and write bespoke qualitative questions which would ensure bidders could provide comprehensive answers for assessment, specific to the Trust’s needs.
The critical outcomes the Trust needed to achieve were:
- A contract representing value for money
- A partnership approach between the Trust and successful supplier to achieve overall efficiencies
- 100% compliance with their internal financial procedures and UK procurement legislation
The challenging tender project was completed successfully with ‘hands on’ support from Minerva, including a day of site visits to allow bidders the opportunity to view each school and a presentation day for three shortlisted bidders to formally demonstrate their business and service proposal to representatives of the Trust.
The winning bidder provided a well thought out proposal which met the needs of the Trust and showed a clear understanding of the service requirement. The contract award was issued without challenge and the successful supplier began a long mobilisation period; allowing plenty of time for further site visits to establishment equipment and risk assessments, TUPE consultations with staff and respective Unions, recruitment for the vacancies and for the application of Admitted Body Status (ABS) to be approved.
Each stage of the project was fully documented within a Procurement Audit Report, enabling the Trust to demonstrate a thorough procurement procedure was followed to satisfy auditors.
As a result of such a successful tender and part of Minerva’s ongoing commitment to ensure best value, Create Partnership Trust has engaged Minerva further to review the contract, support the mobilisation and provide ongoing monitoring of the service from both an operational and financial aspect.
“Third time we have worked together, and service is always outstanding, and we receive excellent advice throughout the process and support with external contractors.”
Andy Bush, (ex) Deputy CEO, Create Partnership Trust
* Please note that OJEU has subsequently been replaced by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 and the threshold for running a process compliant with the regulations has also changed.