CEC v ESP Financial Settlement – Nov 2018

All – an update specifically relating to a report published today by CEC around Oxgangs PS building issues over the last 2 years. The report is not too long a read, but I’ve summarised some of the main points from it and added my own commentary below. Click for the report here .Item_7.20___Edinburgh_Schools_Partnership_Settlement

The Finance and Resource Committee of City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) have today been sent a report into the financial dispute between CEC and Edinburgh Schools Partnership (ESP) dating back to the time of the wall collapse in Jan 2016. As a reminder, ESP is the company that is the financial owner of the school building and leases it back to CEC.

As many will recall, there was significant costs to CEC resultant from the wall collapse. Children had to be put into other schools, buses had to be laid on, After School Club had to be recompensed for lost income, staff costs, etc, school meals had to be paid for, the building itself needed to be fixed, and so on and so forth. Quite a large sum. CEC and ESP have been in dispute for the last 2 years over what monies are due from ESP relating to the costs of this, and who is responsible for what.

The report is to go before the Finance & Resource Committee 3pm on the 4th December and seek the committee to authorise that the Chief Executive of CEC can enter into a financial settlement between CEC and ESP. The actual sum paid will remain confidential between CEC and ESP, but the key thing is that the sum retained by the council is greater than the costs incurred. This seems reasonable enough. Be nice to know the sum, but at least we know CEC have not been left out of pocket.

“Accordingly, the overall sum retained by the Council exceeds the associated closure related costs and this is in addition to the significant benefits of clarified reporting obligations, additional inspections, continuing good relationships, additional opening hours for the facilities and the avoidance of costly litigation for both parties.”

As part of the settlement, there will also be quarterly independent inspections put in place – the first of these inspections must be complete by 31 December 2016. All these reports should be made publically available. This is good, but is surely something we should expect anyway!! Still, ESP are paying for it. Rightly.

“This new regime includes quarterly checks on Amey’s monitoring of, and compliance with, the contract, coupled with random or targeted sampling of the works and services undertaken by Amey. This will all be at ESP’s expense. The Council will be a joint client, entitled to access to the reports at the same time as ESP. The first such inspections will be by 31 December 2018.”

The report also re-states that all remediation works should have been carried out at no expense to CEC – a very significant cost. It also confirms fire protection remediation work is complete.

“All structural and other defect rectification works will have been carried out at the sole expense of ESP or their subcontractors. It is understood that the cost of this is very significant.”

There is also mention of ESP agreeing to open the PPP1 buildings for longer hours for sports & other activities at no cost to the council. This states an extra 8-9 hours per week. This needs further clarification – CEC have this year reduced the number of “free hours” available for the School/Parent Council/PTA to use for meetings and events to 32 hours per year. So will need to get more detail to understand if this helps us at Oxgangs.

“ESP will agree to open the PPP1 buildings for longer hours at no cost to the Council on an ad-hoc basis to allow the PPP1 buildings to be used for sports and other activities (approx. an extra 8-9 hours per week).”

Overall, seems a reasonable settlement between CEC and ESP. Any questions, do let me know and I can see if can get any further clarification. I don’t think I’ll be able to get the amount the settlement is though – unless someone leaks it!