Following a robust competitive tendering process, Lincolnshire County Council awarded a comprehensive five-year property services contract in August 2014 based on the NEC3 Term Service Contract
, according to a recent feature article published in the FM World magazine
. It went to VinciMouchel, a joint venture between Vinci Facilities and infrastructure services group Mouchel.
The £45 million contract is seen by all parties as significant because of how transparency in communication between interested parties is adding intelligence to decision making. Use of the NEC3 Term Service Contract
was intended to codify and ensure transparency of operational activity from both client and provider, encouraging open communication between the parties through use of contract notices such as early warnings and compensation events that can ensure that any issues set to affect the service are flagged and discussed upon their identification.
As quoted in the article, David Mathieson, MD property and assets at Mouchel Business Services, called it “an exemplar deal”, and while much can be said about the contract’s specifics and scale, the issue that was clearly at the heart of the project to replace the previous deal was that of transparency in communication between all interested parties.
Lincolnshire County Council’s chief property officer, Kevin Kendall explained to FM World: “From the outset, when we started this journey two years, we were showing that we wanted to operate as a single team, client and supplier. Previous contracts we’ve had have been very much them and us, so at the outset our vision was to have the one team.”
An obvious demonstration of how this has been achieved is the fact that both client and supplier now sit in the same office together. It is an evidence of how both parties have understood what their combined approach to transparency means in terms of day-to-day operations.
One surprisingly simple solution has been the co-location of Lincolnshire County Council and VinciMouchel personnel in a central control centre. This coming together, said Kendall, has proved to be a huge enabler. “With the last contract there was a physical gap, and that sowed the seeds of mistrust. We wanted to be a single team together – so now we sit in the same office together, even have a shared mobile number.”
Kendall accepted that the council cannot be entirely exonerated for the failure of the previous property services deal. He accepted: “There’s client responsibility in these things too, and our last contract was based on a traditional client-supplier relationship; you could see in it some problems that resulted from our own behaviour.”
The old contract became adversarial, with blame for individual failures all too easily allocated in the heat of the moment. What’s different now is the consistency in communication that the use of the NEC3 contract template obliges.
Kendall hopes that the many changes in working practice introduced in the property services contract have the potential for wider application across council activities. For Vinci and Mouchel, the work conducted there is now being used as a template for a new bid for similar local authority work.
NEC3 Term Service Contract
The NEC3 Term Service Contract (TSC) is intended to be used for the appointment of a supplier for a period of time to manage and provide a service. The Term Service Short Contract is also available for more straight-foward projects, alongside guidance notes, flow charts and how to guides which have been written to help users improve both the setting up and management of the Term Service Contract.
NEC for FM suite of contracts
NEC for FM is a suite of contract documents and guides published in partnership with the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) to support good practice in facilities management procurement in the public and private sector. The pack consists of the already well-established NEC3 Term Service Contracts with their accompanied Guidance Notes and Flow charts, along with BIFM’s Good Practice Guide on Procurement and the very popular How to Guide for NEC for FM.