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HOUSING FIRM QUITS LIMP CCT MARKET

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DoE plans to toughen up housing management CCT have failed to prevent one contractor pulling out of the market, pro...
DoE plans to toughen up housing management CCT have failed to prevent one contractor pulling out of the market, prompting speculation that the new regime will have little or no impact.

Announcing its decision not to pursue any further CCT contracts, Jaygate Management this week blamed the determination of local authorities to keep services in- house. The firm failed to win a single contract in round one of housing management CCT.

Jaygate's housing director Colin Speller said: 'We have not found any change of attitude from local authorities in welcoming the market-testing of their housing service.'

Mr Speller claimed the first 'C' in CCT had made the process 'a nonsense'. He said: 'We submitted in excess of 40 bids, more than 30% of which we would have won on price. But there were arguments over quality.'

Of environment minister Sir Paul Beresford's proposals to eventually reduce the de minimis threshold to just 500 properties, Mr Speller said: 'We weren't disagreeing with them, it was simply that they won't make much difference.'

Jaygate's decision to pull out ahead of round two comes as the handful of firms interested in housing management brace themselves for a contracts dogfight in and around London - the only area where they have met with any success.

Johnson Fry Housing, which is likely to be floated off from its parent group later this year, has already declared that it will only bid in the capital and the south-east in round two.

CSL, which holds a contract in Brent LBC, will similarly focus on councils likely to contract-out housing management. The firm's marketing manager Andy Knott said it was 'a fairly good prognosis' that there was little point in bidding for work in northern metropolitan authorities.

Mr Knott added: 'We don't want regulations that potential clients loathe. We don't want to be foisted on unwilling authorities. We prefer voluntary tendering to compulsion.'

Association of Metropolitan Authorities public services assistant Lesley Courcouf said: 'CCT creates an aggressive, adversarial environment.'

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