Dolphin Mobility Selected for Local Council’s Framework Partnering Project
Dolphin Mobility Ltd, specialist suppliers of stairlifts and hoists, is the only non-manufacturer to be included in Salford City Council’s framework partnering project.
United Kingdom (PRUnderground) November 11th, 2013
Dolphin Mobility Ltd, Manchester, a specialist in the provision of independent living solutions and mobility products ranging from stairlifts and through-the-floor lifts to hoists and pool lifts, is the only non-manufacturer to be included in Salford City Council’s framework partnering project.
Framework partnering has been on the increase nationally in the last few years, making traditional select lists and fixed price tendering progressively uncommon. According to UK government research, tendering every scheme and vetting each company for competence (which includes finances and health and safety) is inefficient and slow at getting projects on site, and completed on time. Traditional tendering is also not ideal to accommodate tight programmes as it is done on a fixed price basis, and therefore designs have to be well evolved at tender stage to minimise the risk of costly claims for any variations.
Salford City Council placed an Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) notice in May 2013 with the objective of appointing partners on a phased basis using several different work categories. Salford became a leading council on setting the framework agenda when it established its frameworks.
One of the main aims of the framework was not only to get the best contractor for the job, but also to give the local community the chance to continue trading and keep local people in employment. According to the Salford City Council website, the project has supported the local economy in a difficult economic climate: “The use of local supply chains has helped to reduce journey times and therefore transport and fuel costs. This in turn has helped to reduce carbon emissions and kept Salford residents in employment whilst also creating new job opportunities.”
Clair Wilkinson, Business Development Manager at Dolphin Mobility Ltd, Manchester, said: “The framework is brilliant because it keeps local businesses employed and gives us a chance to show what we can do. The Dolphin Manchester branch has been a part of the Salford community for the last 20 years and is a true family run business. Our workforce is made up of Salford residents, who have all worked here for a number of years. Dolphin is also one of only a handful of contractors on the list which is not tied to one specific product; we specialise in a whole host of mobility products, giving the council and end user more variety, choice and value for money.”
According to Steve Tabor, Lift Engineer Surveyor at Salford City Council, the framework also allows Salford City Council to have multiple contractors on a list to be able to select the best one for the job based on cost and ability to complete the project. “It allows a quote to be instantly received by the council without waiting a long time on tenders, which essentially saves time for the end user. The job is also completed earlier than if it was tendered,” said Steve. “It speeds up the whole process making it more efficient for the end user.” Aside from cost and quality, contractors are also selected on the basis of their products (if a particular product has been recommended by the council’s Occupational Therapists, for example) and how quickly they can complete the job (if there is a time-sensitive deadline).
Contractors that enter into the framework have already been thoroughly checked by the council, following pre-qualifying questionnaires and stringent measures to ensure they comply with framework requirements. “The evaluation process is transparent and equal regardless of which contractors we hire through the process. All contractors that are hired are approved and competent enough to carry out the various jobs at hand, so occupants can rest assured that the work carried out will be of a high quality whilst still being reasonably priced,” explains Bob Turnbull, Team Leader, Specialist Housing Services at Salford City Council.
So has the framework produced positive results? According to Salford City Council’s website: “The adoption of framework partnering by the council has largely produced substantial and important qualitative and financial benefits that have only been possible as result of the approach and would not have occurred using traditional tendering methods.” Framework contracting has also saved £2.5 million per annum and projects have been known to complete approximately three months sooner than traditionally rendered projects. This has enabled the council to settle final accounts much earlier and result in far less disruption for occupants, helping to delivering projects defect-free on handover, demonstrating a higher quality of construction.
Clair added: “Our team strives towards providing total customer satisfaction and we treat all new and existing customers, clients and local authority contacts in a professional yet caring manner. We aim to combine our expertise with our knowledge of products to ensure that the transition of ‘thinking about adaptations’ through to the completion of the end product, runs as smoothly as possible.”
Dolphin Mobility Manchester covers the North West, including North Wales, Shropshire and Staffordshire. For friendly, free independent advice, please contact the customer service team on 0161 7079995.
About Dolphin Mobility Ltd
Dolphin Mobility is part of the Dolphin Lifts Group, specialist in the supply of products for the disabled and the leading independent suppliers of stairlifts in the UK. Dolphin supply, install and maintain stairlifts, step lifts, hoists, wheelchair lifts and pool lifts.