Extra Care Housing down to final 3 bidders

The number of bidders for Stoke-on-Trent City Councils Extra Care Housing project has now been reduced to 3 after the completion of the Invitation to Submit Outline Solutions stage of the PFI deal.

The remaining 3 bidders  Continue reading

Meet The North Staffordshire Buyer

Businesses across North Staffordshire will have a golden opportunity to directly promote themselves in early October at a special “Meet the Buyer” event in Stoke-on-Trent.

The event, on Thursday October 7, is being organised by the city council’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) team, along with Build Up North Staffordshire, which helps promote business opportunities for local companies.

The aim of the day is to encourage local suppliers to come along and talk one-to-one with the main BSF’s main contractors; Balfour Beatty, Thomas Vale/Wates (TVW consortium) and the RM Group.

The £250m BSF programme in Stoke-on-Trent will see every secondary and special school rebuilt or refurbished, including five brand new academies.

Detailed planning is well under way at the two sample schools with contractors Balfour Beatty due to start work on a brand new school in the Trent Vale area of the city before Christmas. The other design and build contractors, Thomas Vale/Wates consortium will start work on refurbishment at Haywood Engineering College in spring next year.

“We think there are around 200 businesses that might be able to offer their services to the contractors involved in the BSF programme, and this will be an ideal opportunity for them to meet face to face with the decision makers. I’d encourage anyone who thinks they’ve got something to offer to come along. The three contractors will be able to detail materials, trades, skills and individual specialist requirements they are going to be buying over the next few years.”
“As we begin to move into the construction phase of this programme, there will also be a range of job opportunities for students leaving school or college to explore with the contractors as the project develops.”

Businesses wanting to come along to the event on October 7th, which is being held at the Britannia Stadium, Stanley Matthews Way, ST4 4EG, can contact sam.wood@stoke.gov.uk or call 01782 232398 to confirm their attendance.

The day will begin at 9.00am and business will finish at 4pm.

Stoke BSF financial agreement confirmed

Stoke-on-Trent City Council today announced another major step forward in its Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme when senior members of the council, along with representatives of the council’s two selected design and build contractors, Balfour Beatty and Thomas Vale/Wates, signed the “overarching agreement” which confirms both sides’ financial commitment to the project.
This will enable detailed work on the first two school projects, Haywood Engineering and Trent Vale, to go ahead.
City council leader Councillor Ross Irving paid tribute to the negotiators on both sides. He said:
”I would like to thank all those involved in bringing this agreement to its financial close. This project is challenging in many respects and the level of professionalism shown on both sides to make this happen in such a tight timeframe is commendable.”
Cabinet member for children and young people’s services, Councillor Ian Mitchell, said:
“This agreement means our school teams can get down to some definitive an exciting planning for the design and build aspects of their projects.”
Today’s “financial close” agreement was also welcomed nationally, by Tim Byles, the Chief Executive of Partnerships for Schools(PfS),   the organisation responsible for delivering the national BSF programme, who said:
“I am pleased that Stoke-on-Trent has reached Financial Close as it paves the way for the area’s BSF project.  The scheme is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve the life chances of school pupils by providing them with the best possible start.  Stoke-on-Trent’s schools will also become hubs for the local community by providing extended services such as leisure facilities which will benefit people of all ages. 146 BSF schools and over 125,000 pupils are benefiting from BSF investment across the country with 96 local authorities engaged in the programme and I look forward to following Stoke-on-Trent’s project.”
This is the latest in a series of key milestones for the Stoke BSF project. Last week the council announced it had received approval for its Outline Business Case, which effectively confirms the government’s agreement to the council’s city-wide schools re-organisation plan.

Companies with Stoke contracts in illegal blacklist scandal

By Tony Walley

Last week a national newspaper reported on the activities of a Worcestershire company which has been collecting and selling information to a range of construction companies about workers that were regarded as being “trouble makers”. The database that contained over 3,000 names of people who had a history of trade union membership or who had raised concerns about health and safety on building sites had been maintained.

Companies paid the company £3,000 a year and then a fixed fee on each name they wanted to check up on. Details of workers’ employment history and trade union activity were written on cards. This entirely covert operation helped building companies vet new employees.
This process is illegal  and a serious breach of the Data Protection Act and is a system that has effectively blacklisted workers preventing many from employment opportunities.
Amongst the names listed in the Guardian newspaper were a number of companies that have major contracts with North Staffordshire public bodies
  • Balfour Beatty has a contract with the City Council to rebuild local schools. It is one of five bidders which have been short-listed for a transformational £250 million partnership which will help kick-start the development of Stoke-on-Trent city-centre business district.
  • Laing O Rourke has a major contract rebuilding the University Hospital of North Staffs.
  • Carillion which built and maintains a number of new psychiatric hospitals in North Staffordshire.
  • Kier Group which 12 months ago took over the responsibility of maintaining the city council housing stock  in a £400 million deal.

Green Party Logo

Green Party candidate in the Leek East by-election, Bill Cawley said:

” This is shocking that companies that have received large amonts of public money to build new schools and hospital units in the area should have acted in this way. Trade Unionists and many who raised concerns about safety have been treated shabbily and many denied work opportunities. One man an electician had only 36 weeks employment in the last nine years simply because he was a trade union activist. How can an area with a strong Labour tradition allow this situation to continue? It is appalling that a number of companies have been involved in hospital projects especially as on average nationally two workers are killed on construction sites per week”