Last year, we conducted a tender for a Workplace Nursery provider, but unfortunately were unable to appoint a supplier, partly due to the restrictive terms laid down by HMRC. You can read more about this here.
So, in March 2013, we offered our current provider an extension to their existing temporary contract,so that we could continue to offer a nursery on campus whilst we re-let the contract on standard commercial terms, rather than as a Workplace Nursery.
Since March, preparations have been underway to advertise and let this contract on a commercial basis. In early September, invitations to tender were placed on In-Tend and adverts ran in Nursery World and The Surrey Herald.
Tenders must be returned by 5 November and we hope to complete the selection process and award a new permanent contract by the end of January 2014. Should this mean a change of provider, we hope that the period of transition would be complete by April 2014, and staff employed by the nursery would have the option of transferring to the new provider, which we hope will minimise disruption for the children.
The process of resolving our nursery provision has taken far longer, and caused far more inconvenience and uncertainty than any of us would have hoped. However, in order to secure permanent on campus provision, we are legally required to follow the standard public procurement process to appoint our supplier, and there is no way around this.
I would like to reassure parents that good quality childcare provision is a priority for the College, and am hopeful that any residual concerns or worries will be alleviated following the appointment of a permanent provider by the end of January 2014.
Chair, Nursery Project Board