22 September 2005 | Rebecca Ellinor
A local government partnership is "delivering huge improvements" to 55,000 council houses, libraries and schools, according to a government agency.
Procurement adviser 4ps said in a report that a joint venture between Sheffield City Council and building and civil engineering contractor the Kier Group is an example of best practice.
The joint venture was set up as a limited liability partnership (LLP) in March 2003. It runs for 10 years, with an option for the council to review the contract after seven years.
The size of the deal is estimated at around £640 million over the 10-year term, and a senior executive at 4ps, said "It is one of the largest partnering contracts awarded by a local authority in the UK."
The deal involved the transfer of 1,200 staff to Kier, which agreed to share and deliver on several of the council's core aims including securing employment and supporting regeneration.
It has already delivered on several objectives including investment in IT, a new warehouse and vans, has halved the number of suppliers and has made efficiency savings.
LLPs were established in the Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2000. They give the council corporation tax relief on any revenues received as part of the deal.
The report added: "It is believed to be the first time a local authority has sought to benefit from the cost and efficiency savings of a public-private partnership by taking a stake in an LLP."
The project information briefing is available at www.4ps.gov.uk