Deals between three London councils to outsource leisure and library services are expected to deliver savings of up to £30 million over 10 years.
Ealing, Brent and Harrow councils have signed contracts with John Laing Integrated Services, which will provide library services for Ealing and Harrow, and Sport & Leisure Management, who will provide leisure services for all three boroughs.
Keith Townsend, executive director for environment and customer services at Ealing Council, who led the project, said an option to create trusts to run the services was rejected.
“We concluded the most sensible way to do it would be to go to market,” he told SM.
Townsend said they used a combination of competitive tender and dialogue to select the suppliers. “There were a lot of really meaningful conversations,” he said.
In the assessment criteria, quality and price were weighted 50/50 for the leisure contract and 60/40 for libraries.
Client teams have been set up to run the contracts, with the leisure team based at Ealing and libraries at Harrow. “I’m confident we’ve got the arrangements and structures in place,” said Townsend.
He said a key driver for the project was dwindling resources, with Ealing having to save £85 million over the four years to 2014/15 out of an annual budget of around £250 million.
Townsend said: “The innovative approach we took to the procurement allowed us to achieve savings well in excess of what could have been delivered through a more traditional local government procurement approach.”