Agenda Item No. 13(a)
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
COUNCIL MEETING: 29 SEPTEMBER 2014
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 30 JUNE 2014
C2379 UPDATE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE LLANTWIT LEARNING COMMUNITY (CS) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – CORPORATE RESOURCES) -
A matter which the Chairman had decided was Urgent by reason of the need to Progress the Procurement Process in order to meet the Delivery timetable.
At the meeting the Leader tabled a supplementary report of the same title numbered 20b which was considered alongside this item. Agenda item 20a.
The Leader explained that the supplementary report had a slightly different recommendation 4 he highlighted this as he wanted to make clear the costings required to deliver the scheme.
At the meeting the Leader explained that Copies of all the appendices were available to those who wished to view them and in addition they were made available on the Council’s web site and to all members in the members room.
Members were informed of the position in respect of the implementation of the Llantwit Learning Community and approval was sought to progress procurement related activity in advance of Welsh Government approval of grant funding for the scheme, if the primary school amalgamation was approved.
At the Cabinet meeting of 16 November 2011 (Minute No C1523 refers) the Vale's Band A programme of projects was reported and approved for submission to the Welsh Government (WG) based on 50% grant support from the Welsh Government.
The submission of the Band A programme of projects was successful and in December 2011 a Conditional Offer was received from the Welsh Government (subject to the approval of business cases for each scheme and statutory approvals where applicable) for £10.48 Million of Welsh Government grant support towards the total cost of £20.96 Million, which would transform and enhance various schools in Llantwit Major and Barry. The availability of Welsh Government funding would be subject to prior approval of business cases for projects over £5m and business justification cases for projects under £5m.
The Llantwit Learning Community scheme was previously reported to cabinet on 18 November, 2013 (minute C2081).
Following the submission of Band A of the Vale's School Investment Programme, the schemes have been further developed in consultation with Members and the Welsh Government and the Programme now includes:
- Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg (new 210 place primary school building).
- Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant (new 210 place primary school building).
- Oak Field Primary and Ysgol Gymraeg Gwaun y Nant (new 210 place school building for Oak Field, extension and remodelling of Gwaun y Nant).
- Llantwit Learning Community (new 420 place primary school, refurbishment of comprehensive school main block and new build to replace other buildings).
Proposals for projects that were under £5 million total funding investment need to be submitted to WG as a Business Justification Case (BJC). These submissions required the inclusion of five cases which were dealt with in more detail in higher cost projects, these were: strategic case, economic case, commercial case, financial case and management case. BJC's were usually assessed and determined by the WG within 3-4 months of submission. BJC's have been submitted and approved for Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg; Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant and Oak Field / Ysgol Gymraeg Gwaun y Nant. Ysgol Gymraeg Nant Talwg is on course to open in September 2014. It was expected that the new buildings for Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant and Oak Field Primary School would open in September 2015.
All projects with more than £5 million total funding investment were required to follow the Better Business Case (BBC), using the five case model, for business case submission. This was a three stage process including: Strategic Outline Case (SOC), Outline Business Case (OBC) and Full Business Case (FBC). This was an iterative process with information becoming more accurate and definitive as the business case moves through each stage.
A Strategic Outline Case for the Llantwit Learning Community has been submitted to WG and it was expected that it would be assessed in the near future. Approval of the SOC would enable the Council to move to the OBC stage. Subject to formal WG approval a joint OBC/FBC would be submitted. Full approval would not be given until the BBC had progressed through all stages. The FBC must be submitted by December of the year preceding the financial year in which funding was required. In the case of Llantwit Learning Community the FBC must be submitted before December 2014 to draw down funding from April 2015. It was expected that full approval for the grant funding would be received during February/March 2015.
The timing of the approval of the grant funding presents a number of risks in relation to the delivery of the Llantwit Learning Community. Appendix A shows two options in respect of the timeline for implementing the scheme. For both options it would be necessary to have carried out the tender process prior to completion of the FBC. This was to ensure the FBC includes a realistic contract price.
The timeline for Option 1, the 'at risk' option, would see the preferred contractor being appointed before approval of the Full Business Case. The contractor would be appointed on a 2 stage basis, with the construction phase only being entered into on full approval of the FBC by WG. Estimated costs of £300,000 would be incurred on design and development work prior to approval of the grant so that the planning application can be prepared and submitted in April 2015 with the aim of starting on site in September 2015. This option would enable the new/refurbished secondary school to open in September 2017 and the 420 place primary school building to open in September 2016.
It was originally intended that the new primary school building would open in September 2017. Option 1 is favourable in terms of reducing the risk associated with potential failure of the Llantilltud Fawr Primary School building. A report on this agenda proposes that Eagleswell and Llanilltud Fawr Primary Schools amalgamate from September 2015 on separate sites. If approved, advancing the opening date of the new primary school building would reduce the challenge of managing the two schools over separate sites. The estimated £210k annual revenue savings from the amalgamation of the schools on the Llantwit Learning Community site would be generated a year earlier than originally planned.
In Option 2: the 'FBC approved' option, the contractor would be appointed in February 2015 following approval of the FBC. This reduces the risk of expenditure being incurred in the absence of approved grant funding but would result in the opening date for the Primary school being extended to April 2017. The reason for the delay in occupying the new building are programming issues, which require a school move of this nature to occur at a suitable holiday period, so as not to have a detrimental effect on the education of the children.
With both options 1 and 2 it was necessary to start engaging with all schools included in the scheme to carry out educational visioning work to ensure the educational needs of the schools were included in the brief to put out to tender. This work would cost an estimated £10,000 which could be met from the School Investment Reserve pending WG approval of the FBC.
By selecting Option 1 the merged primary schools would be relocated into a single new building a year earlier (September 2016) and the Eagleswell site become vacant.
The council would competitively tender and select a contractor under the South East Wales Schools Capital Programme (SEWSCAP) framework. This reduces the procurement process as the contractors had already gone through a rigorous OJEU selection process. This would require the contractors to submit tender prices and take part in a template design competition process.
The contract form will be NEC 3 option C with design. This would facilitate early contractor involvement together with a collaborative approach in order to reduce risk and to deliver the greatest benefits to the scheme. The council would contractually require the contractor to maximise local skills, training and employment to a similar level as Penarth Learning Community.
Attached at Appendix 3 to the supplementary report 20b was the proposed draft master plan for the scheme although obviously this may change as a result of consultations.
This was a matter for Executive decision.
4. That the Cabinet recommends to Council the funding for the school be as set out in paragraph 25.
Reasons for decisions
4. To ensure funding of the scheme.
[View Cabinet Report]