Welsh Government's 21st century schools programme
Flintshire County Council's Education and Youth Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be asked to review and make recommendations to Cabinet on Welsh Government's (WG) 21st century schools programme when it meets on 18 January.
The 21st Century Programme "Band A" is due to finish at the end of March 2019. Flintshire has already been planning an ambitious programme of investment for "Band B" of the programme which will run from 2019 to 2024.
In addition to the capital funding, there will also be revenue funding that will enable an additional investment in the County's education establishments. This is called the Mutual Investment Model (MIM).
WG has recently confirmed their approval, in principle of the Council's Strategic Outline Programme which was submitted to WG in July last year. This is essentially the Council's â€˜statement of intent' for the "Band B" investment programme for an amount of over £85 million, including an expression of interest that one project could be suitable for MIM.
WG requested that "Band B" programmes are prioritised and so projects have been assessed and given priority based on their current circumstances, although there will need to be a degree of flexibility in this six year programme and progress will be continually reviewed.
The responses from each formal consultation process will be presented to the County Council's Cabinet, along with the impact assessment, options appraisal and officer recommendations. Cabinet will then decide on how to progress and implement for an area/individual school.
Flintshire County Council's Interim Chief Officer for Education and Youth, Claire Homard, said:
"This exciting schedule has identified a number of new projects which will enhance the education provision for our young residents and ensure that our buildings and infrastructure are fit for the 21st century. The new MIM will allow us to make further investments and ensure that our buildings are built and maintained at a consistently high level by the selected contractor for a period of 25 years, for an annual service payment."
As this is a new model and a new way of working, WG is appointing a specialist multi-disciplined team with experience of Public Private Partnership procurements to assist Councils. WG has considered the issues encountered by earlier PFI arrangements and have sought to mitigate them in MIM by, for example, moving to a model which focuses on infrastructure life cycles and having schools remain custodians of other non-educational services like catering, grounds maintenance and cleaning.