Staffordshire County Council (SCC) is seeking an investment partner to create a joint venture vehicle to deliver, build upon and expand the Education Support Services (the Services) to its existing client base and potential new client base as both provider and supplier. The core objectives of the Council in setting up the joint venture are to:
i. Maintain and improve educational outcomes;
ii. Develop long term economic prosperity for Staffordshire;
iii. Provide opportunities to develop skills in the existing and future Staffordshire workforce;
iv. Create a sustainable organisation which is fit for purpose now and in the longer term;
v. Provide long term financial benefits to SCC;
vi. Deliver high quality products and services directly to SCC and other customers.
As a majority shareholder, the investment partner will be expected to provide upfront financial investment, business acumen and commercial discipline to the joint venture.
The joint venture vehicle will have the benefit of the strong relationships that existing staff have built up with the County schools as a result of their expertise, professional specialist knowledge and skills. As a result the investment partner brought on board will enable the joint venture vehicle to capitalise on this opportunity to create an education support services business at a national and potentially global level.
The contract will be negotiated to include sufficient flexibility to enable the joint venture vehicle to respond to changing commissioning needs of SCC, emerging statutory requirements in the education sector and changes in schools' performance.
The Services comprise, but are not limited to the following:
- Education Transformation (Improvement services)
- Educational transformation including leadership and management support, curriculum development and support, governor support services and early years
- Information, advice and guidance services (i.e. careers advice)
- Learning and Development Arm
- Educational Support Services (specialist)
- Music and Performing Arts
- Outdoor education
- Special Educational Needs (SEN)
- Support services provided to schools.
- Facilities management services, including
Cleaning, grounds and caretaking services
- Staffordshire Learning Technologies - ICT (school specific infrastructure, software, hardware, etc)
- Property management, design, consultancy and maintenance
The businesses to be transfered to the joint venture vehicle may include some corporate support services inside and outside the education sector, but these are not expected to constitute a significant share of the joint venture's operations
The joint venture vehicle will be awarded a contract for a minimum term of ten years by SCC to supply the Services which originate from core services funded by grant from Central Government. It is envisaged that existing contracts awarded by schools and relevant third parties will be assigned and/or novated to the joint venture vehicle (Note: most of these contracts are on a 12 month rolling basis).
The joint venture vehicle is expected to grow its business nationally and potentially globally by contracting with schools, academies and the wider education and skills sector both within the County and beyond. Schools and academies have the ability to procure services independently from the Council. The joint venture vehicle will be able to rely initially on the goodwill built up by staff (who are expected to transfer under the TUPE Regulations) to secure new contracts.
The joint venture vehicle will also be able to identify new markets within the Education sector for the services it can supply.
SCC will replicate its current procurement arrangements whereby it obtains services on behalf of the County schools and relevant third parties so that the joint venture vehicle can operate as SCC does now. The benefit of this will be that selection by schools for support services from the joint venture vehicle will be EU compliant as result of this exercise.
The contract with the intended joint venture vehicle may also include Corporate Support Services associated with Education.
SCC is leading this procurement with a view to offering the benefit of this contract to Shropshire Council and or Worcestershire County Council, by way of call off arrangements and or as an equity partner in the joint venture vehicle. Should Shropshire Council and Worcestershire County Council take up the option to participate as equity shareholders this will be on such terms as are agreed between SCC and the joint venture vehicle.
SCC may transfer certain assets into the joint venture vehicle where these are necessary for the provision of the Services. More information will be provided during the dialogue process.
It is anticipated at this stage that the overall contract term will be for a minimum of 10 years, with the option to extend up to a further 10 years in increments to be agreed during the dialogue. SCC wishes to discuss contract duration and review periods as part of the dialogue process. Within these discussions the period during which the partner investor is locked into its investment will be a matter for agreement.
Total contract value is expected to be up to GBP2,000,000,000 over the minimum term of 10 years. This upper estimate of contract value includes an assumption of some transfer of additional Corporate Support Services and an assumption of some services being purchased by Shropshire Council and Worcestershire County Council. The lower end of the contract value of GBP 700,000,000 assumes that the joint venture vehicle only carries out the Education Services business of SCC. Any additional business would be outside of the GBP 2,000,000,000 estimated contract value.