Council marks milestone in service modernisation

By on 01/11/2011 in News

A company created by Birmingham City Council to offer a range of services to the council and other public and private sector organisations has been officially launched today (November 1).

Trading under the name Acivico, the company will initially look to provide construction and property related services work. This includes facilities management such as the maintenance of council buildings, currently delivered in-house, along with other services offered by the council's Building Control team.

Acivico has been created as an overarching parent company with each service delivered through individual Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV). It is proposed that approximately 200 staff working within the areas covered under the initial plans will be transferred to the SPV's using TUPE regulations which protect their terms and conditions of employment.

Cllr Randal Brew, Cabinet Member for Finance at Birmingham City Council, said: “Acivico offers us a great opportunity to review operations and modernise and transform the services we offer.

“It will contribute to the solutions to the financial challenges the council faces, by reducing overheads, bringing into play the benefits of economies of scale and generally being a more efficient way of doing things.”

It is anticipated that the first two SPVs will be fully up and running by April 2012.  They will initially be given exclusivity on any work the city council needs to do in their respective areas for five years, to allow the company to establish itself, as well as starting to seek work with other public bodies and the private sector.

Birmingham City Council is also launching its newly procured Constructing West Midlands (CWM) framework. This is a new regional framework that will provide a complete, integrated solution for the delivery of capital construction work and non-housing repair and maintenance services.

Managed by Acivico, CWM has been developed in collaboration with other local authorities to allow any public body across the West Midlands region to access it.

The CWM framework is worth £750million over an initial four year period and comprises seven individual service lots. Utilising both local and national contractors, CWM promises to reduce lengthy procurement periods and costs, giving total assurance of quality and compliance with relevant legislation.

Cllr Brew added: “The Constructing West Midlands framework is being established to provide a high quality, cost effective, innovative delivery vehicle covering all aspects of public sector construction activity for the council and the wider West Midlands region. It builds on the successes achieved by its predecessor, the Birmingham Construction Partnership.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1.    What are Construction and Property Related Services?

Construction and Property related services covers a range of services including:
•    Architecture, engineering (electrical, mechanical and structural), quantity surveying, building surveying, interior and graphic design, clerks of works, geotechnical site investigations, sustainability/energy management, project management and CDM (construction design and management). Also included is responsibility for managing a range of statutory services, such as asbestos, legionella, electrical testing, gas safety inspections, fire alarms, lifts, etc.
•    Facilities management, including repairs and maintenance.

2.    What is  Building Control?

Building Control is the term used to embrace many responsibilities contained within the Building Act and its allied legislation. Its foremost responsibility is to ensure buildings comply with the building regulations.  All new buildings private or public from the largest such as Bullring to the smallest, all extensions to any building and other defined building work require building regulation approval. For many individuals they only come across the councils Building Control Surveyors when having an extension to their home. Building Surveyors (previously known as Building Inspectors) carry out this highly specialised role.
Building Control work covers a wide range of areas, notably including:
-    Providing pre-submission advice and guidance on compliance with the Building Regulations
-    Inspection and assessment of building work on site for compliance with building standards in accordance with predetermined site inspection framework.
-    Carrying out site inspections to issue stage approvals and completion certificates
-    Enforcing building standards, when necessary, issue notices as appropriate.

3.    Contractors appointed to the CWM framework following European public procurement regulations are Integrated Water Services, Carillion Planned Maintenance, Middleton Maintenance Services Ltd., Kendrick Construction Ltd. Mitie Property Services (UK) Ltd, Community Solutions West Midlands, Mansell Construction Services Ltd, Thomas Vale Construction Plc and Willmott Dixon.

For further information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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  1. Isn’t this what Service Birmingham was originally set up to do? Service Birmingham started in the IT space but was intended to grow into other areas (it has already expanded into call centre and revenues processing).

    • geoffc says:

      Thanks for your comment, but Service Birmingham was originally created to provide strategic IT support through a joint venture with Capita. The new Acivico company is wholly owned by Birmingham City Council, which is a significant difference, and is initially covering entirely unrelated areas of work.

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