5 Top Tips for a Great Grounds Maintenance Service Contract
When you are choosing a grounds maintenance service for your school, not only do you have to consider maintaining the usability and aesthetic quality of your school grounds, but also maximising its safety for pupils, staff and visitors.
We’ve put together our 5 top tips for procuring the best grounds maintenance service contract for your school or MAT:
- Plan ahead! For a single school or low value contracts, you should aim to start the procurement process at least 4 months before the current contract is due expire. For MATs, larger groups of schools or large value contracts, you should start the process at least 6 months before the new contract needs to begin.
- For single or smaller schools where spend is relatively low, a simple RFQ (request for quotation) process is often sufficient, so long as there are no staff to transfer to the new supplier. For larger schools or MATs, using a framework is a good way to access pre-approved national and regional suppliers. If you want to include smaller local suppliers who are not on frameworks, or if you have unusual grounds requirements, we recommend either an open tender or using a serviced framework such as Everything FM which will give you the flexibility to award the contract directly to a preferred supplier.
- In your specification, cover in detail exactly what work needs undertaking and how often throughout the year (grass cutting requirements, for example, often differ between summer and winter). Detail the different types of pitches or areas that need maintenance and any special requirements e.g. if there are conservation areas, tree surveys and maintenance, water features, or if there are sustainability requirements which suppliers are expected to meet. Also include information of required checks for staff (e.g. DBS). It can also be useful to offer site visits or detailed site plans as part of the tender to make sure suppliers have a good idea of the requirements.
- If there is the opportunity to aggregate your requirement with a group of local schools, you can get better deals, as the increased work will be more attractive to suppliers and can create economies of scale. However, the contract would need to be managed jointly by all schools in order to get the best value. It is always worth checking if any local suppliers have capacity depending on the number of schools participating. If schools are very disparate (e.g far apart geographically), tenders could either be split into lots with schools grouped by area, or a large nationwide supplier could be used.
- If necessary, factor in extra time within your mobilisation proves to give suppliers time to comply with the TUPE process (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment). Depending on the number of staff transferring, TUPE could take up to 8 weeks, or even longer in more complex situations. If TUPE does apply, we suggest you start looking at the renewal of your contract at least six to eight months before your contract expires.
If you’d like to discuss your grounds maintenance service, or anything procurement-related, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.