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Wiltshire Council scraps £150m maintenance deal with Balfour Beatty two years early

Wiltshire Council will retender a £150m highways maintenance contract after scrapping its partnership with Balfour Beatty two years early.

Balfour Beatty Living Places won the contract in 2013 but local councillors began reporting of complaints from residents just months into the five-year deal, prompting a review from the council’s scrutiny committee.

In a statement in June, the two parties had said they were “working towards a solution” but have now mutually agreed to end the contract as of April next year.

There will be a phased transfer programme to minimise disruption, with subcontractor agreements transferring to the council, between now and March 2016.

A council spokesman said this would be to ensure “continuity in major resurfacing, ground maintenance and grass-cutting services”.

The spokesman added: “In the meantime Balfour Beatty will remain responsible for street lighting maintenance and highways activity such as temporary repair works, paths and cycle schemes, and will continue to work closely with Wiltshire Council.”

The contract saw BBLP provide highway maintenance, grass cutting, litter collection and street lighting services across Wiltshire.

The deal also involved dealing with problems caused by winter weather and maintenance of drainage systems and bridges.

The single-operator contract replaced a deal in which the services were split between four organisations.

It is not known whether Wiltshire Council will now procure for a single contractor or divide the work up.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Let's hope Wiltshire Council has learnt the lesson that a one stop shop with the big boys is not always the best way. Why not go back to the old days of directly employing smaller local contractors, I bet they received a better value for money service.

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  • Make local companies accountable for local services - always better value.
    Councils need to make their procurement much much easier and simpler for SME`s to access and win.
    Not every company can afford in-house tender interpreting teams dedicated to winning Local Government work which is what the multi-nationals have.
    Sadly until LG procurement is sorted out at national level this is the way it is going to go.

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  • This is no doubt another case of where the Client should have been 'more careful what was asked for' as they might just 'get it' and/or the Contractor being more careful as to 'what was promised' as they were probably as to 'deliver it!' A common problem with contracts of this nature where collaboration on a mutual basis will be required to resolve issues arising but is often not practised. a lesson learnt hopefully.

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