Newcastle City Council has set a national example by excluding soft facilities management services (catering, cleaning, grounds maintenance, security and waste management) and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) from the BSF/PFI contract. The ICT contract alone is valued at £16.5m. The UNISON branch of Newcastle City pressed for the exclusion of both soft FM and ICT at the start of the procurement process and commissioned the Centre for Public Services report How to Exclude Support Services from Building Schools for the Future and PFI Projects.
The City Council agreed to require bidders to submit a mandatory bid which was evaluated with in-house bids from Neighbourhood Services and the in-house ICT service working with Dell. The evaluation process included staffside input from UNISON and the Centre for Public Services together with GMB and staff representatives from some of the schools in the BSF project. A preferred bidder is expected to be appointed in March or April.