Wednesday 16 November 2011
I recently met with colleagues from Bradford Council to discuss how they had been involved in Insourcing the City’s Education Services from Serco. 1,300 staff were transferred back to the authority in July this year from a £53m per annum contract.
Despite having written about hundreds of examples of insourcing services, in APSE's research in this area, the sheer scale of this project was so impressive and to deliver it from the Council taking an initial decision in December 2009 to being fully up and running back inhouse by 29 July 2011 was fairly incredible. Both project managers who delivered this only commenced work in late March 2010, with further secondments being added in early 2011, therefore you are really only talking about 16 months in total for a handful of people to deliver such a colossal change.
They told me about some of the key stages in the insourcing process, engaging with clients and stakeholders; negotiating with the existing contractor; communicating with staff affected who were still with the existing contractor; discussions and consultations with trade unions; putting in place IT infrastructure and back office arrangements around payroll etc; finally doing staff welcome meetings for the 1,300 staff and addressing any teething problems.
The key lesson for me is that no matter how logistically difficult something may appear if you have good quality staff in place nothing is impossible.
Monday 14 November 2011
Although many Armageddon prophecies have been written about the coalition Government’s proposed cut to Feed in Tariffs for solar PV and its impact on the wider renewables agenda, I have to say that I don’t quite buy this vision of the future.
Whilst I am as disappointed as everyone else at the proposed reduction from 43p to 21p from early December, I recognise that the budget of £880m has been used up as commercial organisations cashed in on a financial windfall created by FiT’s, coupled with the dramatic falls in the price of solar panels. Government only ever intended that participants would make a return of 5% on a scheme funded by the general public; being honest many schemes were likely to yield a greater dividend than this.
Obviously, a number of local authorities and housing associations are partially through the delivery of schemes and it is unfortunate to say the least that the review has been brought forward from 31 March to now. APSE will be writing to Greg Barker calling for an exemption from the early reduction in tariff's for local authorities who have acted in good faith, based on Governments stated intention and entered into contractual arrangements aimed at delivering large volume schemes by 31 March. After all it is the public purse which will suffer if contracts need to be terminated.
On a wider renewables point I believe that there will be a pause for breath and then authorities will continue with their renewables programmes at pace. Solar will continue to have a place amongst wind, biomass and others; it will probably just not be as prominent as it was in the past.