Ascham Homes (Partnering)
Author: Karl Williams
By adopting an innovative procurement strategy Waltham Forest council in partnership with Ascham Homes is looking to bring a range of benefits to the local and regional community as well as delivering decent homes by the target date of 2010.
In partnership with Ascham Homes, the arms length company that now manages former council housing, Waltham Forest and Ascham Homes has developed a partnering approach to procurement that is in tune with the government's Rethinking Construction agenda and the National Procurement Strategy. The contract in total is worth in the order of £68 million over five years. It will ensure that more than 13,000 homes are brought up to modern standards.
|Others||London Borough of Waltham Forest
Technical College of North East London
Leyton Job Bank
London & Quadrant Housing Trust
|Location||London Borough of Waltham Forest|
But most importantly the approach seeks to ensure that the economic and social benefits of the contract are felt by local people and local companies. The success of the approach means that the council is aiming to roll it out across the authority, for example to schools. Waltham Forest also want neighbouring authorities to follow their lead to bring benefits to the region as a whole.
The council believes that its approach to procurement is Holistic and that other local authorities will follow the lead as they seek to maximise local benefits from contracts, while at the same time forging relationships with partners that ensure value for money and high quality work.
Regeneration, equality, training and local purchasing
Tackling social inclusion and unemployment through regeneration and sustainable development initiatives remains high on the council's agenda. Building Sustainable Communities is one of the council's improvement priorities.
It has long been established that access to local employment is a central element to successful sustainability within programmes of regeneration and redevelopment. The council has been successful in the past in setting up regeneration and social inclusion initiatives mainly outside of its mainstream programmes and operational activity.
This proposal aims to move these issues into the mainstream. Up to now, funds for initiatives such as local labour schemes has generally come from discrete sources, such as the European Social Fund. It seems likely that these funds will decrease in future, making it particularly important for activities that promote sustainability to be brought firmly into mainstream projects.
Regeneration does not just relate to physical infrastructure. Positive attitudes towards local supply chains and developing capacity, training and direct employment are all factors that can be developed and enhanced by an inclusive investment programme.
The council recognises that local companies who may want to be part of the process may not have the necessary business skills or support networks to be able to 'step up' to this type of undertaking. As a result, with neighbouring authorities, Waltham Forest is bidding for funds for business support for small contractors.
Waltham Forest is seeking to make the case for small contractors to get the same level of support as some other, newer industries.
Partnerships for Training
The council is a partner in local training partnerships that will supply construction trainees and non-construction trainees throughout the procurement process. All the set-up and infrastructure costs have already been incurred. Trainees will receive formal training and then on site training. The programme is built on very strong local databases of potential trainees and is now well advanced.
Waltham Forest's partners for this vital project are: Employment Service, Technical College of North East London, Leyton Job Bank, O'Regen and London & Quadrant Housing Trust and Laing Construction.
The project is in line with the London Development Agency economic development strategy. It will:
- respond to skills 'deficiencies' by providing trained skilled workers to the construction industry and 'Upskill' existing workers
- ensure basic skills for all - beneficiaries will receive basic skills training as an integral element within wider construction skills training programmes.
The successful contractors will work closely as partners within an established framework that will develop, promote and support an economically sustainable base for training within the local construction industry.
Contractors are required to demonstrate during assessments of submission how they will work within the framework and meet the requirements. Mechanisms to measure performance, continuous improvement and ongoing efficiency against pre-established benchmarks have also been written into all new contracts.
The council has already piloted a major partnering contract for the redevelopment of one of its large estates. This is delivering annual reductions in cost of 2 per cent. Egan Principles and Rethinking Construction are incorporated into all of the procurement practices. The council's lead consultant, The Waltham Forest Building Consultancy, will continue to advise with a view to ensuring that the procurement processes represent Best Value, based on bench-marked performances.
Tender methodology is a two stage tender selection process and the final selection is based on both price and quality. Following the OJEC Notice contractors are selected and invited to submit stage one tender submissions.
Stage 1 - Performance and Quality
Stage one tenders are assessed together with OJEC information by a panel of officials and technical advisors. Selection decision is made against a pre-set performance and quality criteria. Each area of assessment is given either a performance/quality threshold or marked against best in class
Scoring is based on part submission and part interview with scoring weighted toward interviews. Contractors complete and submit requested information for stage 1 and attend an interview by panel for further assessment. Contractor's are then required to submit further information following interviews and then scoring is carried out by a panel, consisting of relevant stakeholders, inclusive of council members and officials.
Stage 2 - Quality & Price
Contractors submitting stage two tenders are assessed together with stage one submission information by the panel as in the previous selection stages. The final selection decision is made against a pre-set scoring methodology which awards each tender a score. Tender price will be awarded a maximum of 40 per cent of the potential marks on price with the remaining 60 per cent being awarded on the basis of the quality of the submission and proposals contained in method statements.
Contractors (up to a maximum of three) or a single contractor are given specific packages of work for the contract period. This will ensure that competitiveness is maintained in all areas. As a further incentive contractors may be encouraged to tender for maintenance contracts of the refurbished properties based on planned maintenance strategies provided by the contractors with illustrative life cycle costings as part of stage 2.
|Material Available on the Demonstration Project|
|Application Form for Demonstration Status 2004|
|Right First gudance note|
|Knowledge Capture Report 2010|
|Site Start:||31 January 2000|
|Planned Finish:||31 December 2007|