OF E D I N B U R G H C O U N C I L
Investing in Education: A review of PPPI Executive of the Council 15 June 2004
Purpose of report This report reviews the implementation of the PPPl scheme. It considers the process by which buildings and services were procured as well as the products that were ultimately delivered. The review has particular importance in informing the PPP2 scheme that is currently being developed. It does not, however, look in detail at the financial and contractual arrangements for PPPl Stage 2 Schools which are the subject of a separate report on this agenda.
2.1 Background In November 2001, contract agreement was reached between the Council and Edinburgh Schools Partnership (ESP) to provide E91million of investment in the education estate, including capital works estimated at f80million. From the outset a high degree of consultation was undertaken with schools which were being considered for inclusion under PPP. This included a successful programme of primary school amalgamations. The final project involved the building of ten new primary schools, two new secondary schools, two new special schools, a new community centre and a new secure unit. A further three secondary schools were to be refurbished, with some significant elements of new building. By the completion of the whole PPPl project, the schools will cater for almost 15% of the pupil population attending City of Edinburgh Council secondary, primary and special schools. The contract also included the provision of facilities management for building and grounds maintenance, cleaning, catering, janitorial and security services. 2.2 Changes to the Original Project During the period from November 2001 to mid 2003, a number of factors led to alterations to the original scope of the project. In particular, 0
a fire at Oxgangs primary school that destroyed a substantial part of the building, leading to its inclusion in the project. a fire that destroyed the North Merchiston school building in the early stages of its refurbishment to create the new special school to replace Canonmills and Cairnpark, leading to a subsequent re-appraisal of suitable sites. 1
The delay in finding a site for the new special school to replace Graysmill and Willowpark, now to be on the existing Firrhill High school campus. the failure to secure the anticipated Health Board site in Morningside for a new south Edinburgh primary school. the passing of a planning longstop date in relation to St Peter‘s primary school.
The resulting renegotiations led to the inclusion in PPPl of a new build school for Oxgangs Primary. The proposed new South Edinburgh primary and the replacement special school for Canonmills and Cairnpark were subsequently removed from the scheme. The building of St Peter‘s and Oxgangs primaries, the new special school to replace Graysmill and Willowpark, and the final phase of the refurbishment of Firrhill High school were delayed due to the complexity of the renegotiations. The contract agreement on these remaining projects was reached in early April 2004, and construction work began immediately. 2.3 Completion Dates Except for the schools listed above as being involved in contract renegotiations, the planned completion dates for the remaining establishments were mainly achieved. The maximum delay to the opening of any of these establishments, not taking into account pitch provision, was four weeks. 2.4 Review of the Procurement Process, Buildings and Services While it was important to review PPPl as a major Council project, there has been the added significance of the opportunity to inform and improve the PPP2 project. This report examines the detailed perspectives of stakeholders, considering comments made on an ongoing basis throughout the project, and also through more formal review mechanisms. 2.5 Consultation A wide ranging consultation has taken place to gain representative views. This has included 0
gathering of views throughout the daily activities involved in the PPPl process. a formal review day for the Head Teachers, individual schools’ PPP liaison staff and other school staff with significant participation in the project. meetings with the Pupil Councils of two of the High Schools. discussions with parents through school board meetings and other school based meetings. discussions with Education Department and other Council staff. a professional Post Occupancy Evaluation carried out at Craigour Park primary in collaboration with the Scottish Executive.
2.6 Stakeholder Views The stakeholders are broadly very happy with the school buildings that have been delivered through PPPl. As one teacher commented, “We are 95% delighted with our new school.” Although there are some areas of concern 2
identified for buildings, these tend to be specific to individual schools rather than to the whole project, or of a relatively minor nature. In general, the majority of staff, students and parents commented upon the significant improvements to the physical environment and the opportunities for learning which they provided. There is less enthusiasm for the standards of facilities management, with particular concerns being voiced over the mechanisms for ensuring a high quality service. In seeking to inform PPP2, there was a necessary focus on the aspects of PPPl that had been most challenging. However, many successes were also reflected. 2.6.1 Successes of PPPl the improved environments for students, staff and community users. the modern P.E. facilities. In one secondary school these were described as ‘Excellent’ by staff, while students appreciated the increased variety of facilities and the teaching time that was saved by not having to travel to Meadowbank. bright, open and airy spaces. A secondary school student commented that “ It’s a nicer place to be. It’s not gloomy, cold or dark, and it affects your mood”
flexibility of the teaching spaces in primary schools. In the post occupancy evaluation of Craigour Park Primary, this was highlighted as a major success by staff, pupils and council officials. This echoed the comments of staff from the other primary schools during a review day for PPP?, when a typical comment was, “. ..great space for working, with flexible walls facilitating co-operative teaching.. ..Fab!” the public statement made by the new buildings about the way that school communities are valued. The investment in new buildings has been seen as a statement of the importance of school communities. A comment from a member of staff noted that the new buildings had led to a positive public perception of the school. the valuing of school communities leading to improved ethos. As one student commented, “No one cared in the old school. Now there is hardly any vandalism”
The opportunity to reinforce school uniform as part of a ‘new start’ has also been seen by a number of schools as a positive influence in improving ethos. 2.6.2 Issues arising from PPPl
A number of points were regularly raised by stakeholders following their experiences of PPPl and these are listed below:
Be certain about availability of sites at the outset of the project and pre-empt potential difficulties with planning permissions by having early dialogue with the Planning department. A Planning Officer has been appointed to the PPP2 team with this specific remit. Urban design statements describing planning principles have been produced for each school site and are now about to go to consultation.
Planning and resources should be invested in ensuring that the external environment has high quality learning, social and play spaces and greater attention should be given to the aesthetic aspects of design of buildings. Design has been given a much higher profile by all involved in PPP2, and this will be reflected in a greater weighting being given to design criteria when bids are being assessed Specify exactly what is required in a new building at the beginning of the project, thus avoiding the need for costly and time consuming changes. A major consultation is underway to update the Generic Brief for schools, which will lead to clearer specifications for bidders. A significant staffing allocation has been made to PPP2 schools to support continued consultation with school communities. This should lead to improved briefs, better designs, and a consequent reduction in changes. 0
Refurbishment around a working school should be avoided if at all possible. One of the criteria used in determining the schools to be included in PPP2 favoured new build over refurbishment projects. As a result, PPP2 will be almost entirely new build. The arrangements for dealing with defects and for monitoring facilities management performance must be clear and fully operational from the date the building is handed over. One officer has already been appointed to monitor facilities management, and another will be recruited soon. The establishment of procedures for PPPl will improve the situation for PPP2.
Sufficient time and resources must be given for consultation at all stages of the process, and those who are being consulted must feel that they have the opportunity to effect change.
As previously stated, an extensive consultation process was undertaken before PPPl and throughout the scheme but key stages for consultation will be identified as part of planning for PPP2. The opportunity should be taken to equip schools with ICT and technology for the 21 st Century. There are, of course, cost constraints involved and whilst schools must be designed to cope flexibly with the future, there is a limit to which funds can be committed for ‘future-proofing’. There is a perception that the cost of lets in PPPl schools is deterring community access The current changes for lets are applied across all schools consistently and there is a significant gap between the level of charges and the actual cost of 4
opening all schools. This issue will be addressed in a further report to the Council Executive. The security of old school buildings must be ensured until their demolition. The need for a very high level of security will be built into the planning for PPP2. 2.7 HMlE Inspections of PPPl schools Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education have published reports on inspections of three school built under PPPl, Craigroyston primary, Pirniehall primary and Rowanfield special school have all undergone inspections that included objective assessments of the learning environment. In each report, the accommodation and facilities were judged to be ‘very good’, Le. level 4 in the rating system attached to the quality indicators used. This is the highest rating possible and officially grades the accommodation and facilities as having ‘major strengths’.
Financial Implications The changes, which are proposed for PPP2, will be contained within the affordability envelope approved for the project at the Council meeting on 19 February 2004.
Conclusions The PPPl project has made significant improvements to the learning environments of a substantial number of school communities. The experiences of PPPl will inform the PPP2 project in the pursuit of high quality buildings and services.
5.1 To note the improvements made to the school estate through PPPl . 5.2 To note that the experience of PPPl will inform the PPP2 project.
Roy Jobson Director of Education