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Public contract benefits workers

Published: 1 Mar 2016 08:30
Part of:
Public sector

New service signs up to Living Wage and Fair Work practices.

A new contract for water billing services in Scotland's schools, hospitals and other public buildings is set to deliver new jobs, apprenticeships and fair work practices.

Launching today, the new contract with Anglian Water Business (AWB) will see them take over the billing of water services to Scotland's public sector.

The service commencement was marked at an event in AWB's Edinburgh headquarters, where the workforce has already doubled as a result of the announcement.

And to mark the event, AWB became the latest company to sign up to the Scottish Business Pledge, committing to a number of fair work practices, as well as becoming an Accredited Living Wage employer, as they bring jobs, apprenticeships and training to Scotland.

Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown joined AWB Chairman Tony Donnelly and staff to celebrate the launch of the contract.

Mr Brown said:

"This new contract sees AWB really embrace one of the key objectives of this Scottish Government – making Scotland a fairer place to work.

"They are signing up to the Business Pledge and have become an Accredited Living Wage Employer, new apprentices will join the company later this year, staff from the previous contract have transferred over and we have already seen a doubling of the workforce at the Edinburgh office.

"As well as this, AWB will be helping to make Scotland a better place to live by engaging with the community through a schools programme, delivering the best value for the Scottish taxpayer and working with our public sector to reduce their water consumption and their impact on the environment.

"While legislation introduced by a previous administration to safeguard the public status of Scottish Water required us to tender out these services, we have ensured that Scottish Water remains in public hands, and secured the best possible deal to ensure Scotland benefits."

AWB's bid for the contract offered immediate savings of £5 million a year compared to the nearest bid, and water efficiency support to reduce customers' water consumption.

As well as helping the environment, these 'green' measures could reduce bills by a further £5 million a year. This means the contract will save public bodies up to £40 million over the next four years.

AWB Chairman Tony Donnelly said:

"Anglian Water Business, with its parent company Anglian Water Group, has a strong track record of working in Scotland.

"Our decades of expertise both sides of the border will, with this contract, mean low water bills for hundreds of public sector organisations – schools, hospitals and other public buildings - and deliver much-needed savings and greater value for the Scottish taxpayer.

"The contract will bring jobs, apprenticeships and training to Scotland, as well as supporting the local economy. In addition, we have also signed up to the Living Wage and to the Scottish Government's Business Pledge, delivering more quality, opportunity and innovation."

Sarah Vero, Director of the Living Wage Foundation, said:

"We are delighted to accredit Anglian Water Business as a Living Wage employer. It's great to see the Scottish Government recognise the value of Living Wage employers, and champion the Living Wage in the procurement process."

Notes to editors

Background

  • The contract is worth up to £80 million a year over four years.
  • The existing contract with Scottish Water subsidiary Business Stream was due to expire on March 31 last year.
  • AWB emerged with the most attractive bid in an open tender competition but an extension was put in place to allow all of the bidders to consider initial feedback and provide on-going service to public bodies.
  • Tenders were assessed on both quality of service and price
  • Scottish Water remains the wholesale provider – only the retail element is subject to competition (reading meters, processing bills and offering water efficiency support).
  • Scottish Water will continue to provide the water supply for 96.5% of Scotland's population. The remaining 3.5% are connected to private supplies under their own individual arrangements.
  • The Water Services etc. (Scotland) Act 2005 established the framework for retail competition. This framework introduced competition into the Scottish water market. When there is competition in a market, EU rules stipulate that public contracts must be competed, even when a publicly-owned company can deliver the service.
  • By introducing competition for Business Stream's services, the 2005 Act forced public bodies to tender contracts for Water and Waste Water services, even though Business Stream is owned by the public.
  • There is no impact on households as the provision of water to Scottish households is not open to competition.
  • Ministers have ensured that Business Stream, as a public entity, maintains the no compulsory redundancy policy.

Contact

Images available from Colin Hattersley - colinhattersley@btinternet.com - 07974 957 388
Scottish Government - Donna Watson – 0131 244 5122

AWB - Alex Orr - 0131 603 8996