Agenda Item No



The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Cabinet Meeting: 14 July, 2014


Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services


Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant: Acceptance of Tender


Purpose of the Report

1.         To seek Cabinet  approval to waive Contract Standing Orders and Financial Regulations to enable acceptance of the tender of ISG Construction Limited and quotation for consultancy services of AECOM Professional Services LLP.

2.         To seek Cabinet approval for the acceptance of a tender for construction of Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant.

3.         To seek approval for the acceptance of a quotation for the provision of consultancy services in connection with construction of Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant.


1.         That Contract Standing Orders and Financial Regulations be waived in order to allow acceptance of a negotiated tender for the construction of Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant and a negotiated quotation for provision of consultancy services in connection with the same.

2.         That  subject to acceptance of recommendation 1 above the tender of ISG Construction Ltd for the construction of Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant be accepted.

3.         That, subject to acceptance of Recommendations 1 and 2 above, the quotation of AECOM Professional Services LLP for the provision of project management, cost management and CDM Co-ordinator services be accepted

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To permit further use of the ISG Construction/Stride Treglown model school template that is currently being used on Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg and which Welsh Government have cited as being one of three projects demonstrating best practice for a 21st Century school

2.         To benefit from the opportunity to achieve financial savings and obtain value for money by applying lessons learnt on the almost identical Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg project.

3.         To enable execution of contract and commencement of site operations at the earliest opportunity thus maximising the likelihood of the new school being operational by the beginning of the 2015/16 academic year.

4.         To utilise existing skills and knowledge of contractor and consultancy teams that are successfully delivering the Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg project for the Council.


4.         Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant opened in Llantwit Major in September 2011 in a modular building which comprised a nursery and single classroom sufficient for 30 children along with a hall and associated administration and staff areas. The school's catchment area includes Llantwit Major, St Athan and Wick and will also include Rhoose from September 2015.

5.         The school opened with four children in the reception class and was designed to expand as additional children joined the reception class and the older children progressed through the school. As of September 2013 there were a total of 33 children in the reception class, years 1 and 2 with a further 20 children attending the nursery class who could apply for reception class in 2014.

6.         Due to increasing pupil numbers an additional double demountable classroom was installed at the school during the 2013 school summer holidays. The existing school now comprises a modular building and a double demountable classroom with sufficient capacity for 90 children.

7.         The original proposal was to extend the existing modular building to increase capacity to 210 places. However following a feasibility study a number of issues were raised which resulted in difficulties if the existing modular building was to be expanded. These included inability to achieve a BREEAM excellent rating for the new building, high cost of retro-fitting a fire suppressing sprinkler system into the existing building and difficulties in achieving a layout which resulted in an efficient pupil flow through the school and thereby promotes good educational outcomes.

8.         Due to the issues above the preferred option was to utilise a pattern book design school providing 210 places plus a nursery on the existing site. This is a similar approach as previously agreed by Cabinet for Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg in Barry. The existing two buildings at Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant would be relocated to alternative school sites following the completion of the new school.

9.         Cabinet of 18th November 2013 (Min C2078) resolved that the expansion of Ysgol Dewi Sant to a 210 place primary school with nursery on the existing site utilising a pattern book design subject to obtaining additional Welsh Government funding of £534,000 through the 21st Century Schools Programme be approved.

10.      Following discussion with Welsh Government officials regarding additional grant funding a positive indication was given that it would be awarded but the additional funding was allocated from the Vale's overall grant funding envelope of £10.48m.  

11.      Welsh Government has subsequently approved funding of £1,641,000 from the 21st Century Schools Programme against an anticipated total project cost of £2,739,000 (i.e. £534,000 more than the Council's contribution). The letter of approval from Welsh Government was received on 3rd April 2014. This funding arrangement is reflected in the Capital Programme for the years 2014/15 to 2018/19 approved by Council on 5th March 2014 (Min 883(1)).  

Relevant Issues and Options

12.      It is planned that the new accommodation at Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant will be operational for commencement of the new academic year in September 2015. To achieve this results in an extremely limited programme in which to complete all necessary processes including investigations, consultation, planning, procurement, contractor’s design, construction and fitting out of the new school.

13.      The scenario on Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant is very similar to that encountered on Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg. Both schools initially included modular buildings that were extended as the school expanded.

14.      The contract for Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg was subject to a competitive tender process in May 2013. This entailed tender documents being issued to six contractors following a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire short listing exercise. One contractor subsequently withdrew from the tender process resulting in five tender submissions being received. Following a tender evaluation exercise, the contract was awarded to ISG Construction Ltd.

15.      The new permanent accommodation at Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg is currently under construction. The works are progressing extremely well and ISG Construction has demonstrated that they are an extremely competent contractor. They have quickly grasped the Council's work practices and requirements and have a proactive approach to resolving any issues that may arise. 

16.      The design solution being used at Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant is based on a model school template developed by ISG Construction in collaboration with Stride Treglown Architects. This utilises a standardised design while still affording flexibility to clients and end users. This approach is intended to permit refinement of design over subsequent schemes by use of established teams resulting in improved programme and lower costs through ongoing lessons learnt and supply chain engagement.

17..      The model school template at Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg is the first in Wales and has been very well received by Welsh Government who have used the scheme as one of three projects demonstrating best practice for a 21st century school.  Representatives of many other local authorities have visited the site and presentations on the scheme have been made to the other 21 authorities in Wales.

18.      Should Cabinet be in agreement it is proposed that the design solution to be adopted at Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant will be virtually identical to Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg.

19.      Negotiations have taken place with ISG Construction to ascertain whether there are financial benefits to be gained from engaging them without seeking competitive tenders. These negotiations have primarily been undertaken by AECOM due to their being the cost consultant on Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg.   

20.      Cabinet are advised that the approach of negotiating a tender/quotation is a departure from Contract Standing Orders/Financial Regulations which require invitation of tenders from at least 4 parties and quotations from at least 3 parties in such circumstances. Approval to waive Contract Standing Orders and Financial Regulations to enable acceptance of the negotiated tender and quotation is therefore sought.

21.      Of particular importance in achieving the desired outcome are the roles of Project Manager (PM), Cost Manager (CM) and CDM Co-ordinator (CDM-C) who will be required to facilitate and co-ordinate the various processes. Current workload commitments mean that Property Section does not have sufficient resources to undertake the PM, CM and CDM-C roles at the present time. Consequently, it will be necessary to appoint external consultants.

22.      Financial Regulation 20.5 stipulates that orders for all works, goods or services over £15,000 and up to £100,000 shall only be issued after at least three written quotations have first been invited. In addition to the time required to adhere to this requirement, risks associated with this approach include potential for appointment of a consultant who may not possess sufficient knowledge of the Council’s policies, procedures, working practices and the like. It is therefore considered beneficial in these particular circumstances to appoint a consultancy that has a proven track record of delivering such projects for the Council.

23.      AECOM (formally Davis Langdon) were appointed by the Council in 2007 to undertake consultancy services in connection with “The Redevelopment of Comprehensive Schools within The Vale of Glamorganâ€. Under this agreement, they have managed the successful completion of the redevelopment of Cowbridge Comprehensive School (total project costs c. £22m in value) and are currently acting as consultant PM and CM on the Penarth Learning Community contract total project costs c. £48m in value). They are also acting on the Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg project. During this time they have become fully conversant with the Council’s procedures, policies and requirements. They have also built up good working relationships with officers at all levels within the authority.

24.      It is considered that direct appointment of AECOM to undertake the PM, CM and CDM-C duties on the proposed contract at Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant would assist in achieving delivery of the project within the stipulated timescale. This approach would, however, require an exemption from Financial Regulation 20.5. As stated above, alternative methods of appointment are likely to have a detrimental effect on achieving the primary objective of occupation by September 2015.

25.      To date AECOM have been engaged to undertake a limited degree of services including tender negotiation. They have also been requested to submit a fee proposal for undertaking the full range of required services.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

26.      The capital cost for provision of a new 210 place school is estimated to be £2,739,000. This amount is currently included within the capital programme for the years 2014/15 to 2018/19 as approved by Council on 5th March 2014 (Min 883(1)).

27.      The project is jointly funded by the Council and contributions from Welsh Government via the 21st Century schools programme.  

28.      Increased staffing costs arising due to the expansion of the school will be funded from the Learning and Skills revenue budget via the formula allocation to schools.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

29.      The proposed model school template will meet BREEAM excellent rating to minimise carbon emissions arising from the running of the school building.

30.      The existing school comprises a modular building and a double demountable classroom dating from 2011 and 2013 respectively. At present the proposal is to transfer these buildings to another site for continued educational use. Once proposals detailing alternative sites have been developed these will be reported to Cabinet for approval.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

31.      It will be necessary to enter into appropriate forms of contract with both ISG Construction Ltd and AECOM Professional Services LLP.

32.      Further details are outlined in the Part II item on this agenda.

Crime and Disorder Implications

33.      There are no crime and disorder implications arising from this matter.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

34.      The expansion of Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant is required to meet parental demand for Welsh Medium education in and around Llantwit Major.

Corporate/Service Objectives

35.      The expansion of Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant is included within objective LS1 of the Corporate Plan 2013-2017 to ensure that 'citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan have the skills, knowledge and abilities required to maximise their opportunities.'

36.      The expansion of Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant contributes towards the completion of Outcome 3, Objective 9 of the Learning and Skills Service Plan 2013/17 to ensure 'Learners have access to an appropriate range of high level provision.'

Policy Framework and Budget

37.      This is a matter for executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

38.      Consultation has taken place with relevant Officers and Ward Members. 

39.      Councillors Gwyn John and Keith Geary have advised that they have no objections to the proposals.

40.      Councillor Edward Williams has indicated that he is supportive of the proposals.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

41.      Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers

Cabinet Report 18th November 2013 - 'Expansion of Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant, Llantwit Major' (Min C2078)


Contact Officer

Martyn Lewis                        Group Quantity Surveyor


Officers Consulted

Sian Davies              Director of Resources

Paula Ham                Head of Strategic Planning and Performance

Alan Jenkins                        Head of Financial Services

Carolyn Michael       Operational Manager (Accountancy)

Jane Wade                Operational Manager (Property)

Nicola Monckton      Accountant (Education)

Mike Walsh               Principal Lawyer


Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill              Director of Learning and Skills