Manchester High School for Girls

Manchester High School for Girls

Manchester High School for Girls is a prestigious high performing independent day school of just under 1,000 girls aged 4 – 18.  Pupils come from diverse cultural backgrounds. Academic ability is nurtured alongside pupils’ sporting and artistic potential and the school prides itself in providing all its girls with the very best foundation for future success.

The school decided, after having the catering and cleaning contract under a single service provider for some time, to put it out to tender and see what the market could offer in terms of service development and innovation.


For two contract periods, the catering and cleaning services were contracted out to a single service provider. The school wished to keep both services with one supplier, as several staff work across both departments and there is mutual support on-site between managers.  However, they wanted to see what the market could provide in terms of service development and innovation, particularly in regard to cleaning.


The school outlined to Litmus four key areas that were important throughout the tender process:

  • All companies invited to bid for this contract would be fully engaged in the tender process;
  • Both the tender and the subsequent contract must be fully transparent;
  • Pupils were brought into the process to feedback on the quality of the bid presentations; and
  • Bidders would add value to the life of the school through engagement with pupils, parents and staff.


Joe Parfitt, Partner at the Litmus Partnership, said: “Education is the sector that we started in, so we have years of heritage working with schools to ensure their facilities management operation is in place and working effectively.

“As engagement was key to the tender we invited the bidders to an engagement day at the school before they agreed to participate in the tender, to ensure everyone who progressed with the tender truly felt they could deliver that we were looking for.

“Three bidders went on to take part in the tender, and we co-hosted another site visit and answered mid-bid queries. Our team of financial analysts prepared reports comparing bids and our consultant created a narrative summary of strengths and weaknesses, scoring the submissions against pre-agreed criteria.

“All three bidders were then invited to present to a panel comprising pupils, management staff, teachers and governors.  It was important that everyone – from staff to pupils – participated in the decision-making process and felt confident in the provider.”


The contract was awarded to a new provider that resulted in significant operational savings being delivered – largely due to increased commercial transparency.

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“Litmus has supported Manchester High School for Girls for a number of years, and so understand how its facilities need to run to ensure the high standards are maintained throughout. For this tender, they helped us re-engage with our stakeholders to frame the school’s requirements for the present and future. This led to the production of clear service specifications for catering and cleaning, and a financial model that provided the completely transparent outcome the school demanded.”

John Moran, Bursar at MHSG