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Significant savings in Highlands schools deal

The Highland Council and Mears, in conjunction with Alpha Schools (Highlands), have concluded negotiations to agree cost and risk reduction measures on the PPP Highland Schools Project, that are set to deliver million pound savings to the Council over the life of the contract.Mears has worked in partnership with Alpha Schools (Highlands) and The Highland Council since the 10 new schools were opened in 2007, and are contracted to deliver the services for 30 years. With 20 years remaining on the project, the targeted cost reduction measures deliver substantial savings to the Council, without compromising the quality of the Total Facilities Management services being delivered by Mears.Highland is the largest local authority area in the UK and the wide geographical spread of the schools requires Mears to implement innovative methods of planning and service delivery. Mears uses local sub-contractors to assist in the delivery of the works. Many schools also have facilities which are open to the public and act as community hubs – such as libraries, swimming pools, leisure centres, arts centres, adult education centres and offices.The agreement ensures the continued satisfactory operation and maintenance of each site with a set of additional agreements that safeguards The Highland Council’s financial risk in any given year.Tony Smith, Mears Managing Director of Facilities Management, said: “We are delighted that our excellent working relationship with The Highland Council has enabled us to identify improvements and deliver further savings for the partnership. We understand the financial pressures local authorities are under and we work hard to deliver innovative services.“Our Highland Schools contract challenges our team to deliver a comprehensive service, incorporating highly specialist works, in an environment which demands the highest safety and compliance standards.“To put into perspective how comprehensive our service is, Mears maintains and is responsible for everything within each of the 10 school buildings apart from the actual teaching of students and academic support services. We think of it as providing facilities which allow education to excel.”Brian Porter, Head of Resources for Care and Learning within The Highland Council, said: “The improvements and cost savings in this new deal are significant and are the results of our close working partnership with Mears and Alpha Schools (Highlands). To date, Mears has delivered excellent services for us that are both safe and innovative – we view them not as a contractor, but as a long-term business partner and stakeholder.”


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