The Amey One Trafford Partnership has been a feature of life in Trafford for the last six and a half years and we’re coming up to the 7 year review.
So whether you’re itching to get Amey out of your life, or happy to move forward together, councillor scrutiny of the contract has commenced.
7 year Review
The agreement was signed 7th May 2015 and the partnership is due to end on the 30th June 2030 for everything but the street lighting contract, which gets an extra 5 years until 2035.
There is a provision for the council to ask for an 8 year extension to 2038 if it so chooses, but to all intents and purposes the bulk of the contract is a 15 year agreement and we’re coming up to that half way point.
What gets to be reviewed?
The terms of the review are specified under clause 12 of the agreement. The terms have their roots in the original aims of the ‘Reshaping Trafford’ project set out at the onset of the tender in March 2015:
- To deliver a minimum of 20% savings against the net budget from contract commencement.
- To deliver further, future efficiency savings through continuous improvement and innovation in service provision through the contract life.
- To have flexibility, recognising the challenging financial climate facing local authorities at the moment.
- Protect jobs and maintain service standards in so far as practicable.
So this time last year under clause 12, the council must have begun the process to assess Amey’s performance against:
- Achieving value for money in its services on behalf of the council
- Preparing Service Plans
- Satisfying the users of services
- Satisfying the council
- Providing a competitive service
And the council will have engaged in a dialogue in order to determine whether it wished to exercise rights to request a Seven year options proposal very much focused within the agreement on cost reduction, so that those options will consider in order of precedence:
- Efficiency improvement
- Income generation
- Reconfiguration of service delivery
- Adjustment of targets and performance
- Adjustment to scope
At the end of the review
As you can see the Tory contract always envisaged service degradation at this point in the agreement. It has to be said that the Tories also envisaged that Amey might not wish to comply, or they may wish to make counter proposals that the council the council would find unacceptable. Both these outcomes are provided for in the agreement along with a protocol designed to bring both parties together but with the possibility of agreement termination as the ultimate recourse.
This process must be coming to its latter stages now and the call has been made for a cross party group to come together to look at the review. I don’t have any insight into where we’re at but probably wouldn’t be able to tell you if I did have.
Politically, whatever changes are made will be Labour changes.
It’s worth pointing out then that I’m convinced the ‘Reshaping Trafford’ project, more than anything, led to the demise of the Conservatives in Trafford. A 20% reduction in funding for the only services that we all use was the most comprehensive suicide note that any council has written ever. Whatever happens at this seven year review, it’ll still be a Conservative project but increasingly we in Labour will be held to be responsible for its day to day running. It’s in our interest to make the partnership more accountable to its users and that’s something actually enshrined in the agreement.
Clause 12:13 talks about whether or not “the Service Provider has to a material extent failed to satisfy the users of the Services in relation to the Service Provider‘s performance under this Agreement.”
I think it’s fairly clear that ‘Love Old Trafford’ had their patience stretched by Amey and the council. Once the 7 year review is over, I don’t believe the distinction between Amey and the council will wash. It’ll be council services and we’ll to a much greater extent have to satisfy the users of the services.
That said, there’s real chance for Amey and senior councillors be more joined up and responsive to the public and their representatives. The prospect of another seven years of staying together just because they have to is too depressing to contemplate. This isn’t a marriage. The seven year review provides a chance to bring partnership back to the fore. I hope it goes well.