Specialist team sought to support big projects

Published on 21 January 2016

COMPANIES who can provide a full range of development professionals, from architects and landscape designers to engineers and project managers, could be given the chance to bid for a four-year contract with Leicester City Council.

The council currently buys in the specialist services it needs on a project-by-project basis. It wants to save time and money and ensure it gets consistently high-quality services, by agreeing a single contract to cover all of its major projects.

Frank Jordan, the council’s strategic director of city development and neighbourhoods said: “It doesn’t make sense to keep a team of specialists in full-time employment for the occasions we need them, so like most councils we buy them in as and when we do.

“However this means going through a complicated and costly process for every project, and can lead to delays and inconsistencies in quality. By securing a longer-term contract with one company, we could considerably speed up the process and get better value for money.”

Cllr Sue Waddington, asst city mayor for jobs and skills said: “The other advantage to this approach is that when awarding a four year contract we would expect the company to provide some added social value such as apprenticeships for young people, or job opportunities for local residents, and this would be built into the tender process.”

In the next four years the council is set to spend around £100 million on a range of building projects including new schools, museum, workspace and city centre developments, including work in the Greyfriars conservation area.

It's proposed that the contract will be advertised in February, with the aim of appointing a contractor in May. Companies would be asked to tender for the work so the exact cost is not yet known, but last year the council spent almost £7.5 million on professional services.

This included the purchase of services to complete the rebuilding of Leicester’s secondary schools, to regenerate the historic Friars Mill into new offices, and to design and plan for the building of new workspaces in Dock 2.

The proposal for the new way of working will go to the council’s overview select committee on January 28. The City Mayor will take a decision on it in February.