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Education's post-16 building plans "not commercially viable"

Education's post-16 building plans

Friday 09 December 2022

Education's post-16 building plans "not commercially viable"

Friday 09 December 2022

Construction firm R G Falla claims the States' terms for building a post-16 campus at Les Ozouets made the project "not commercially viable".

The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture announced on Wednesday that it was pulling out of the deal for R G Falla to build a sixth form college and further and higher education centre.

The States said R G Falla tried "unilaterally to alter material contract terms agreed in the tender process". The Committee's President, Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen, said: "The States have been forced into taking this decisive action to ensure we fully uphold our responsibilities to taxpayers around safeguarding the public purse."

But R G Falla said yesterday that the construction elements of the Committee's £105million reorganisation of secondary and further education could not be delivered commercially without alterations to the draft contract which the States would not agree.

"RG Falla has always remained committed to carrying out the project. However, both the terms of the intended contract and overall programme were onerous and not commercially viable," said the company.

"We sought to undertake alterations to the proposed contract that would have enabled R G Falla successfully to undertake the project without undue risk to the company, its employees and other clients."


Pictured: R G Falla said yesterday that a new post-16 campus could not be built at Les Ozouets under the terms wanted by the States.

Following a competitive tender process, the States awarded R G Falla preferred bidder status in May this year. The company's tender was accepted by the States the following month. 

Deputy Dudley-Owen said the States negotiated with R G Falla "for a number of weeks" to try to rescue the deal. 

R G Falla said it was "saddened that the States have chosen to end negotiations".

"RG Falla has committed substantial resources and costs to this over the past six months and it is very disappointing that the States of Guernsey has decided not to proceed," said the company. 

The Committee acknowledged that its search for a replacement contractor would probably further delay its planned post-16 campus. But it said that other aspects of its reorganisation of secondary and further education remained on track to be delivered by September 2025.


Pictured: Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen said that her Committee would press ahead with its reorganisation of secondary and further education despite losing its construction partner for its flagship project: a new post-16 campus at Les Ozouets incorporating a sixth form college and The Guernsey Institute.

The States approved the Committee's £105m plans in September 2021. In February this year, the Committee announced that it was delaying the completion date of its new model by one year - from September 2024 to September 2025.

Deputy Dudley-Owen recently rebuffed concerns expressed by some politicians privately that the project's timeline may have slipped further or that costs may have escalated. 

On 14 November, Deputy Dudley-Owen said: "There have been no material changes to the costs agreed by the States or the timeline we have previously announced publicly.

"The implementation of the re-organisation of secondary and post-16 education, agreed by the States in September 2021, is continuing as planned and we look forward to sharing details of positive developments and milestones in the months ahead."

Deputy Dudley-Owen said on Wednesday that the Committee would overcome its setback with R G Falla and remained committed to its new education model.

"The Committee is not disheartened because we know that this model remains the right fit for Guernsey and builds a firm foundation for the island's future success," she said.


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