Added value fuels Glendale win

Commitment to community projects and apprentices helps contractor to land maintenance deal.

Maintenance: contract secured - image: Glendale
Maintenance: contract secured - image: Glendale

A focus on adding extra value through running community projects and offering apprenticeships to clients has helped Glendale to secure a £2m contract.

The contractor has been appointed to deliver grounds maintenance and arboriculture for social housing provider Bolton at Home over three years, taking over from a council-run service.

Bolton at Home owns and manages more than 18,000 properties, which it took over from the local authority in 2011. Glendale will manage all green space and around 14,500 trees across its estates.

Glendale regional director for the north Keith Hepplewhite said it was a case of "building social value into the fabric of our service and into the ethos of our staff".

He added: "It's invaluable to winning not only the contract in question but virtually any contract nowadays. Any client would expect ourselves and our competitors to cut the grass and trim the shrubs. The differentiation between us and our competitors is the added value we can provide.

"It's not a one-size-fits-all solution and this becomes apparent through any tendering process. You have to understand your client's need and requirements. Bolton at Home is very progressive and socially conscious."

Glendale has already drawn up advertising for the two apprentices, drawn from Bolton at Home residents, who will study for an NVQ in amenity horticulture.

"In my region we have well over 50 per cent of contracts that have locally sourced apprenticeship roles built in," said Hepplewhite.

Glendale will also contribute to Bolton at Home's "Transforming Estates" programme, which involves environmental community projects. Staff will donate time to volunteering in the community and will target fly-tipping, working with the council and local police.

The company offers clients lists of possible added extras from which to choose but pricing the tender bid with the right amount of added value in a "hugely competitive market" can be "hugely difficult", said Hepplewhite.

"You've got to get it right. It's fine to say we'll do something every week but there's a financial cost to that. There's a fine line between providing all these services and being a commercially viable business that can still invest."

Contracting out - Staff transfers negotiated

The number of staff transferring to Glendale is expected to be between 10 and 20, although final details over contracting out are still being negotiated.

Glendale regional director Keith Hepplewhite said: "We need a core staff over winter of 10-15 plus three or four extra in the summer." If the contract is extended, Glendale could run three apprenticeship schemes.

Bolton at Home assistant director for development and renewal Dominic Conway said: "The contract with Glendale will provide some invaluable work opportunities for our residents."

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