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News Report Page 4 of 12
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Major changes to the awarding of contracts

LIVERPOOL City Council is set to make significant changes to the way it designs projects and contracts for suppliers so they deliver economic, social and environmental benefits for residents. It could mean support or training being provided for the long term unemployed, businesses giving careers advice in Schools, sharing building space with community groups, donating time or money to local community schemes or improving green spaces. It forms part of Mayor Joanne Anderson's triple lock; putting people, planet and equality at the heart of every decision.

The Council is starting conversations with potential suppliers and sectors to explain how it will work and the type of measures it will look for and will invite feedback to inform improvements. The new approach to social value in procurement will be phased in gradually across the Council so that processes and guidance can be refined before wider rollout. Its a key strand of the Council's Strategic Improvement Plan, following recommendations made in the Best Value Inspection.

Examples of current success that the Council wants to replicate include hiring the long term unemployed as apprentices, and engagement activity with schools and residents for the remediation of Festival Gardens. There will be a new requirement for larger contracts to give a social value weighting when they are assessed, and encouraging smaller, more diverse suppliers to work with the Council.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said:- "Every year the Council spends approximately ₤600 million on the delivery of vital goods, services and works; and we need to strengthen our approach to social value. There are already some fantastic examples but we know it is not embedded consistently across all departments. Too often there is a focus on the cost of a contract rather than the wider benefits it brings for residents, such as helping create a safe and clean community and giving residents access to a good quality job. This is about making every pound we spend go further and recycling the gains through communities across Liverpool, and working with our contractors to help them deliver on their corporate responsibility, building wealth and assets within our communities. It is a key part of our commitment to helping build on the existing social capital, assets and resources within neighbourhoods, creating opportunities for disadvantaged communities and promoting of health and wellbeing. This is an ambitious policy and will take time to fully integrate across the organisation, but the benefits for the City will be transformative."

The policy sets out how social value will not be limited to procurement, but will also influence broader activities; such as:- the design and delivery of services, use of the Council's buildings and land, and how grant funding is targeted and awarded.


LGA responds to Living with Covid strategy

RESPONDING to the Government's Living with Covid strategy, announcing the phasing out of all legal Covid19 restrictions in England, Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing Board, said:- "We are now moving to a new phase of living with Covid19 in our communities. The fact that we are now in this position is in no small part testament to the fantastic work of Councils in protecting communities and supporting partners in the successful roll-out of vaccines. However, it is also clear that Covid19 hasn't gone away. There is still a risk of further waves of transmission because of waning immunity and the emergence of new variants and mutations. The Government should ensure that local outbreak management plans can be stepped up if required if there is a re-emergence of the virus and that all partners are sufficiently resourced to make this happen. The UK Health Security Agency needs to be able to think, mobilise and act nationally to respond, including maintaining their laboratory support, their technical skills and their research capabilities. This needs to be supported by delivery on the ground by Councils, so if there is a major health protection threat in the future a rapid response can be deployed, ensuring that local communities are protected. As national systems are scaled back, it's important that local public health teams still have the tools they need so they can respond to new variants and tackle outbreaks, particularly in higher-risk settings. This won't require the same level of funding as the Government has provided so far, but an extension of part of the Contain Outbreak Management Fund is vital so Councils can continue this work and ensure staff with expertise in this area are retained."

Fire warning issued to Schools and Care Homes amid kitchen ventilation concerns

HUNDREDS of Schools and Care Homes across the North West could be at risk of devastating fires because the commercial extraction systems in their kitchens aren't being cleaned to required industry-wide standards. All kitchens in a commercial setting now need to be cleaned by specially accredited technicians in order to adequately remove dangerous volumes of grease which quickly build up in the extraction ventilation systems. Due to the flammable nature of the greases and oils in large scale kitchens, there is a real risk that any fires could rapidly spread throughout School and Care Home buildings. It is estimated that an entire building could be devastated within just 10 minutes. To alleviate the fire risks, a Building Engineering Services Competence Assessment (BESCA) Vent Hygiene Elite (VHE) scheme requires all commercial kitchens to be cleaned to what is known in the industry as TR19 level. However, there are fears many organisations across the UK are unaware of this specification.

Cumbria based Hy5 Commercial Cleaning is 1 of only a handful of companies in the UK with the necessary BESCA accreditation, and its team is warning businesses of the potential dangers of not adequately removing grease from their kitchen extraction.

Keith Simm, the Founder and Managing Director of Hy5, said:- "All commercial kitchens will routinely be cleaned but many establishments will be totally unaware of the requirement to have the commercial extraction systems cleaned to such a high standard, and why it is so important to do so. Over time, the amount of grease which builds up in the system is vast and they can easily catch alight due to the nature of them being around intense heat and open flames. These greases are highly flammable and once they catch fire, the flames spread extremely quickly. It does not bear thinking about the worst-case scenarios in Schools and Care Homes where you could have hundreds of vulnerable people trying to get out of the building at the same time. This is why the BESCA VHE exists and why we have significantly invested in becoming accredited because safety is of paramount importance to us. We are leading the way nationally in grease hygiene, and we want to raise awareness about the new specification to prevent any major disasters."

The BESCA VHE has the backing of all major insurance providers across the UK, and the companies will only provide full fire cover to establishments that have been serviced by accredited technicians. Keith added:- "If commercial kitchens have not been cleaned by BESCA VHE accredited technicians, then they will not be properly covered by any insurance policies. If there is sadly a fire, not only are you counting the cost of any damage, but you won't get any payout from your insurance company either."

The VHE has been introduced by BESCA to provide a management process for controlling the risk of grease related fires associated with commercial kitchen extraction systems. By cleaning the kitchen ventilation system to such a high standard, businesses remove contamination from the cooking processes to significantly reduce the fire risk presented, improve system performance and ensure the surrounding area is well ventilated.

Duncan Sibbald, who administers VHE on behalf of BESCA, said:- "When it comes to fire safety, the need for competence and compliance cannot be overstated... Many parts of our industry were effectively unregulated for years and initiatives like VHE were the result of responsible firms and individuals trying to take a stand against those less than scrupulous operators who seemed unperturbed by the fact their work was putting lives at risk. Since the Grenfell tragedy, that work has taken on even greater significance and we are delighted that firms like Hy5 are clearly committed to improving professional standards right across our sector."

BESCA acts as a certification body as part of the wider Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and aims to help UK businesses and individuals to meet industry standards, ensuring compliance and promoting best practices among the industry.

Do you know of any businesses in our area that have the BESCA accreditation? We are only aware of Central Park Cleaning Solutions Ltd in Wigan... If you know, please email us to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com or on our Facebook, Twitter profiles.


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