Rampton Hospital near Retford in Nottinghamshire is one of three high-security hospitals in England, employing around 1900 staff. The patients suffer from mental disorders and need treatment in conditions of special security because of their dangerous, violent or criminal tendencies.
Maintaining the 75,000m2 hospital and its 77ha site presents a significant challenge, with many of the complexities of an acute hospital combined with the security measures found in a prison. Based on positive experience with the NEC-based NHS ProCure 21 capital-works framework and a commitment to achieving 2‒3% annual efficiency savings, the local NHS trust opted to re-tender the maintenance contract under the NEC3 Term Service Contract.
The contract scope is broad and embraces both planned and unplanned maintenance of mechanical and electrical services, structures, building fabric, building installations and grounds as well as operation and maintenance of sewage and water treatment plants and a boiler house.
TSC was obvious decision
According to Project Manager Neil Earnshaw, "Following a presentation to the Trust about the NEC3 TSC, its selection to underpin the new contract was an obvious decision. This was given added weight with the endorsement of the NEC3 by the Office of Government Commerce, which confirmed alignment with Government procurement policy."
"The Trust approved use of a TSC option C (target contract with price list), which required relatively minor adaptation to make it suitable for use. In addition to the standard clauses required to incorporate dispute resolution, price adjustment for inflation and recent changes in law, secondary option clauses were identified to support delivery of improvements sought by the Trust while ensuring financial control, namely X17 low service damages, X19 task orders, and X20 key performance indicators."
"The X19 task order option was essential to create the flexibility within the contract", says Earnshaw. "Whereas the compensation event clauses can address changes to the nature of the service, such as property disposals or changes in specification, the task order clause enables minor one-off capital works projects to be carried out."
New way of working
Earnshaw says the contract strategy has set the scene for an altogether new way of working for both the Trust and MITIE, comparable with practice found in private-sector organisations. In addition to more focused monthly and quarterly meetings, there is greater thrust towards innovation, such as providing more cost-effective fire-alarm provision, grounds re-alignment and review, and facilities electronic management system review.
"As the Trust moves towards alignment with NHS Foundation Trust status, payment by results and the performance required through Standards for Better Health, the Trust considers that this particular public-private partnership arrangement underpinned by NEC3 will help to achieve its ambitions", says Earnshaw.
Benefits of using NEC
- Early warnings for flagging up potential expenditure in excess of current budget setting.
- Pain / gain linked to key performance indicators through the Trust balanced-scorecard mechanism.
- Contractor has greater ownership of the Trust's risk.