Manchester confirms Jacobs as outsourced property partner

Manchester City Council has announced the appointment of Jacobs UK to deliver outsourced corporate property services.

The deal, first revealed by Place North West in July, will see Jacobs supported by the Manchester office of GVA Grimley. Jacobs will take a floor in the same building as GVA Grimley, 81 Fountain Street, close to the town hall.

Twenty eight staff will transfer from the council to Jacobs, which already has a large office of 500 staff in Cheadle Royal Business Park.

The tender has taken a year to complete and is part of the council's Manchester Improvement Programme launched in 2006, aimed at finding revenue savings of £15.4m in 2007/8, followed by £22.6m in 2008/9 and £22.8m in 2009/10.

The contract, believed to be worth £5m, will be for an initial period of five years with an option to extend it by a further two years.

Services that were outsourced from August include: estate management of let estate; new leases; disposals; general valuation; asset valuations; rent reviews; acquisition by agreement; compulsory purchase valuations; rating advice and land surveying.

The council said the outsourcing will help improve the service, bring a strong business approach and local market knowledge, and help attract and retain skilled staff.

It is also anticipated the move will generate additional income through more efficient ways of working and maximising the income that the non-operational portfolio produces.

Nick Whipp, lead director of GVA Grimley for Manchester City Council, said: "This new partnership with Jacobs will allow us to continue to support and advise one of our major clients, Manchester City Council. We also hope that we will be able to share the best practices of the private sector with the TUPE staff to achieve efficiencies and increase revenue for the council."

Cllr Bernard Priest, executive member for finance at the council, said: "In its bid to become an excellent service, corporate property will maximise the benefits of working with the private sector and build on the skills and experience of its staff to drive the service forward for the future."

Jacobs Group vice president, Allyn Taylor said: "Manchester is a major centre for us in the UK and the city council is a key client. We are confident that this new partnership will bring value for money, access to private sector expertise and wider opportunities for staff development."

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