Perfect Financial Incompetence in Kirklees community health centres

5 primary care/community health centres in Kirklees are a PFI project. Kirklees Primary Care Trust closed the financial deal for the PFI project in 2004.

The 2012 Treasury PFI spreadsheet shows the PFI contract is for 30 years and Semperian is the equity holder. The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is NK Facilities Ltd. Total capital costs are listed as £25m. The total unitary charge (which covers the mortgage repayment and service charges for operating and maintaining the health centres) is £89.6m over the contract duration.

The 2012 Health and Social Care Act (HSCA) abolished PCTs. Before the HSCA was passed into law, Kirklees PCT handed over its community health provider arm to Locala,  a private social enterprise company. Kirklees PCT refused to ballot staff and the divestment to Locala was forced through under New Labour’s Transforming Community Services scheme, when Burnham was Health Secretary.

Now that the PCT doesn’t exist, NHS Property Services Ltd is responsible for the PFI Project Agreement/contract

A Kirklees PCT Estates strategy document says that the PFI scheme was owned by NK Facilities Ltd (with 10000sqm of buildings).  Under the Project Agreement that Kirklees PCT signed on 21 April 2004, NKFL were required to provide a fully maintained and compliant building for thirty years.

The Companies House website shows that NK Facilities Ltd (company no.05015874) is registered at an address in Bristol that it shares with 132 companies. It was set up on 15 Jan 2004 and its business is management of real estate on a fee or contract basis. Semperian, the equity holder in the Kirklees community health PFI scheme, provides the secretariat.

Information from someone in the Save Calderdale Royal Hospital facebook group is that NHS Property Services Ltd is now responsible for the Kirklees PFI community health centres project. NHS Property Services Ltd have confirmed this, telling Upper Calder Valley Plain Speaker:

“NHS Property Services Ltd has ownership of Batley Health Centre, Cleckheaton Health Centre, Dewsbury Health Centre, Eddercliffe Health Centre and Ravensthorpe Health Centre under a private finance initiative. We also take responsibility for the management of these buildings from an estate management perspective, handling the tenancy and occupancy arrangements which control the terms under which the tenants of the buildings occupy.

NHS Property Services Ltd is unable to comment on the behalf of any of our contractors or service providers therefore any further information will need to be requested via FOI or directed to the provider company.”

The NHS Property Services Ltd website says that the Department of Health set up the company to manage all the ex-Primary Care Trust estate that had not been transferred to providers. It is 100% owned by the Secretary of State and in turn owns the legal title to 4,000 assets, valued at around £3 billion. The organisation owns sites across England and also provides strategic and operational management of NHS estates, property and facilities.

Architects West & Machel decribe the Kirklees community health centre PFI buildings as:

“Health Centres…that champion the new thinking of holistic healthcare by offering a range of services under one roof.”

As advocated in the NCAT Report on the future of Calderdale and Huddersfield A&E, with the aim of reducing hospital beds and admissions to A&E through care in the community.

The architect’s description offers a clue to what some parts of the proposed Future Care System would be like under the proposed “Right Care Right Place Right Time” changes to Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS and social care systems.

Many people have been trying to figure out what the frequent use of the word “holistic” might mean in all the official documents. Now we know. It means a range of services under one roof. Why couldn’t the officials just say that?

Facilities management by Mitie – a company that fails and prospers from privatisation

The Treasury PFI spreadsheet shows that the contract for soft and hard facilities management at the Kirklees PFI community health centres is held by  MITIE Facilities Management, although this information may now be outdated. As already mentioned, NHS Property Services Ltd say that finding out about this will take an FOI request or a direct approach to the contractors.

Both coming up soon.

An Open Democracy article by Clare Sambroook reports that Mitie’s record in facilities
management is not too great.

What follows is taken from Clare Sambrook’s article, which is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 licence. That means if you re-publish it, you have to attribute it properly and you can only re-publish it in non-commercial media. Open Democracy say, if you have any queries about republishing please contact us.

For almost three years Mitie have run Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre, near Oxford. It isn’t going well.

In October 2013 a suicidal inmate set fire to his cell. The blaze spread quickly — there
was no sprinkler system. Ten fire engines rushed to the scene; 180 people had to be

Seven years ago, after a similar fire in the same Campsfield block, Oxfordshire Fire &
Rescue Services strongly recommended sprinklers. It didn’t happen.

Mitie are experts in fire prevention. They tell potential clients:

“our fire and security team can integrate fire prevention, detection, and suppression with your security equipment, including fire detectors, fire alarms, extinguishers, sprinkler systems . . .”

Why didn’t Mitie heed the Fire Service’s warning and install sprinklers when they got the
Campsfield contract? Phil Miller, a Corporate Watch researcher, asked Mitie. They
wouldn’t say.

Four years ago Ruby McGregor-Smith, an accountant who runs Mitie, was one of 35 business  leaders invited to sign a letter in the Daily Telegraph, urging Chancellor George Osborne  to cut public services. Reducing the budget deficit quickly, they claimed, would

“deliver a healthier and more stable economy…everyone knows that when you have a debt problem, delaying the necessary action will make it worse not better.”

The BBC’s Robert Peston noted:

“there is a whole school of economists . . .  who would describe that statement as laughable.”

Austerity politics creates work for outsourcers regardless of whether they do things more
efficiently than the public sector, or not. The PFI model that accountants have dreamed
up keeps capital spending off the government’s balance sheet, making the official budget
deficit smaller. Pushing public money into private hands shrinks the state and weakens
organised labour.

Updated 16 March with information from NHS Property Services Ltd tweet.

Updated 25 March with information from NHS Property Services email.

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