The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support presented a report, the purpose of which, was to:
· request Cabinet approval to undertake a procurement exercise to invite tenders to bid for contracts for multiple home-to-school transport services, for a term of five years with the option to extend by two further periods of one year; and
· delegate authority to the Corporate Director, Education and Family Support, to authorise the acceptance of the most economically advantageous tenders received and enter into contracts with the successful bidders following the procurement process.
As part of the report’s background information, he advised Cabinet that the local authority has a statutory duty under the Learner Travel (Wales) Measure 2008 to make suitable transport arrangements to facilitate the attendance of children each day at the relevant places where they receive their education or training. This was primarily achieved via the contracting of transport services from the private sector.
The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support further advised, that In July 2020, Cabinet deferred a report on the outcome of the public consultation to change the local authority’s Home-to-School/College Transport Policy. This report also sought suspension of the local authority’s contract procedure rules to allow the local authority to extend the current home-to-school transport contracts that expired in July 2020. As the report was deferred, it was necessary in early September 2020, to seek delegated authority from the Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration to resume the provision of the services on the same terms as the expired contracts until the end of March 2021.
There were now a number of home-to-school transport contracts that require retendering to ensure that the local authority is meeting its responsibilities under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, the Council's contract procedure rules and to seek value for money.
He added that, in consideration of the market factors of struggling capacity in this sector, the outlined proposal is to conduct a procurement exercise awarding contracts for a term of five years with the option to extend for a further two periods of one year. This will allow the local authority to offer longer contracts to encourage investment, strengthen the existing contractual arrangements and potentially open up the market to new suppliers.
The Corporate Director – Education and Family Support concluded his report, by stating that there were currently 272 routes that would be tendered. The estimated cost of these combined contracts over the period of the tender, was detailed in Table 2 at paragraph 8.1 of the report.
The Cabinet Member – Education and Regeneration in supporting the recommendations of the report, advised that this was a very important Contract as was confirmed by its value detailed in paragraph 1.2 and broken down in the financial implications section (of the report).
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
1. Authorised the invitation of tenders as set out in the report.
2. Delegated authority to the Corporate Director, Education and Family Support, after consultation with the Monitoring Officer and Section 151 Officer, to authorise the acceptance of the most economically advantageous tenders received and enter into contracts with the successful bidders and any other further deeds and documents which are ancillary to those contracts following the procurement process.