Wakefield Council is taking the next step towards bringing more control back into the Council for services like building repairs and maintenance, property and estates management and architectural services.

As part of this, some functions will come in-house and some will be provided by two new external partners, who’ve been selected following a recent tender process.

At a special meeting of Cabinet on 8 August, key decision makers are expected to give officers the green light to award a facilities management contract and delegate powers to the Cabinet Member for Resources and Property, Cllr Les Shaw to award the contract covering professional services.

Cllr Shaw explained: “This new way of working is about having more control of the services that come under property and facilities management. It will give us choice and flexibility so that we can make decisions about what’s needed on a project-by-project basis.

“We’ve got a mix of bringing some elements back in house and working with external partners who offer expertise in specialist areas.”

The names of the preferred bidders are not made public at this stage due to commercial sensitivities during the contract award process. This is expected to be completed by the end of August.

Once the contracts are finalised, the Council and the new providers will begin the TUPE process to protect jobs and people’s terms and conditions of employment.

Cllr Shaw added: “The people who deliver these services under the current contract are an important part of our future arrangements, and we will be doing everything we can to safeguard jobs and support colleagues.

“This is an exciting opportunity for everyone involved to be part of the transformation of our property and facilities management services.”

The Facilities Management Contract relates to physical structures and covers the building services for the Council’s estate, as well as providing the customer contact element with a 24-hour Help Desk. This contract also provides these services to schools, if they choose to buy them. It provides more flexibility, as it can be used for bigger building services jobs, but it is in the Council’s control to make this decision on a project-by-project basis which provides flexibility and value for money.

The contract for professional services provides the specialist resources needed for big capital projects like architectural design, project procurement and contract management. The Council will be able to choose which of these specialist services it uses based on what is needed.

The services that will be coming back in-house includes the soft facilities management services, as well as a commissioning team, who work through the logistics and deliver planned projects. The function which looks after the sale, leasing and tenancy of Council buildings and any acquisitions the Council makes will also sit in-house. A new structure is being set up within the Council to deliver this new way of working and a report will go to Cabinet for approval in September.

In the meantime, Wakefield Council continues to work with Equans to ensure a smooth transition for people and services as the current contract draws to an end on 31 October 2023.

Members of Cabinet are meeting on Tuesday 8 August at 10.30am to discuss this report. The meeting can be watched live or later on the Council’s website.