London Borough of Hounslow
Located in the West of London, the Borough Council of Hounslow took the decision to find a specialist joint venture partner to work with its direct services catering organisation to provide the catering services into primary and secondary schools in the area.
This was quite a complex partnership as it meant a new legal entity was formed – one between a joint venture company owned by the Council and the selected service provider.
With the borough stretching from near Chiswick through to the border with Surrey, covering Brentford, Isleworth, Hounslow and Feltham, the schools in the area feed thousands of pupils every day.
Due to the intricate nature of the partnership, and the required level of technical expertise in public procurement, the Council decided to appoint the Litmus Partnership to support with the tender, together with their chosen legal advisers. To find the joint venture partner it was decided a formal OJEU procurement using the competitive dialogue process would be used.
The Litmus Partnership was briefed on six key areas:
- Managing the tender process and preparing the specifications;
- Managing the entire tender process in line with OJEU procedures for competitive dialogue;
- Developing the evaluation model to be used throughout;
- Structuring the dialogue sessions during each stage;
- Providing technical evaluation advice and support; and
- Helping to select the preferred joint venture partner.
Nigel Forbes, the Litmus Partnership, said: “As this was a 10 month tender, we appointed a dedicated team to focus on this; it was very much like we were an extension of the Council’s team, as opposed to two separate entities.
“In addition to procuring the Joint Venture the decision was taken to also procure a framework for the provision of catering services into schools across all London Borough Councils.
“We, together with the Council, were involved in each step of the tender, which centred around three stages of dialogue with the bidders. The process started with four companies bidding, which then were shortlisted to two, over the next two stages.”
The successful bidder was chosen, and in 2014 the new joint venture company was created. This was a significant piece of work; in addition to forming the new company the successful service provider also undertook to build a central production kitchen in the Borough to service the schools.
“We could not have achieved the successful outcome without the support of the Litmus Partnership. The Litmus team provided technical expertise and support and, most importantly, worked as an integral part of the project team alongside Council colleagues and our legal advisers.”
Project Lead, Hounslow Borough Council
“We were thrilled to be able to help create this quite unique partnership – which was a first of its kind for us. We’ve enjoyed hearing about how well the partnership is performing and see the catering services for the schools in the area transform.”