Decision details

9-month contract with Hestia Housing & Support for Concierge at Spring Cottage

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Housing

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


This report seeks approval to enter into a nine-month contract with Hestia Housing & Support to pilot a night-time concierge service at Spring Cottage hostel in W14. Spring Cottage is a council owned hostel and the property is managed by the Council’s hostels service. Currently there is a teenage parent supported accommodation service delivered by Metropolitan Thames Valley at the property; there are onsite support staff 24 hours assisting residents to develop independent living skills e.g. managing a tenancy; budgeting; parenting skills; accessing education, training, employment opportunities.


It is recommended that the Cabinet Member for Housing, in consultation with the Chief Housing Officer:


1.     To note the decision of Metropolitan Thames Valley to terminate the contract to deliver services at Spring Cottage, effective from 1 July 2019.


2.     Approve a waiver under Contract Standing Order 3.1 of the requirement to seek competitive bids under Contract Standing Order 10.2 and 11.2.


3.     Approve a direct award of a nine-month contract from 1 July 2019 to 31 March 2020 to Hestia to provide a night-time concierge service at Spring Cottage at a total annual cost of £62,081, pro rata £46,561 for the period 1 July 2019 to 31 March 2020 from the Housing Revenue Account budget.

Reasons for the decision:

A waiver of the Contract Standing Order requirement to seek competitive bids is required because there is insufficient time to undertake a tender and implement the new services by 1 July 2019, as the existing provider has served notice on the contract as permitted in the contract terms.


The current service does not represent good value for money due to the high void levels and the “over-provision” of support compared to residents’ needs; we are therefore proposing to change the eligibility criteria to include older women with young children, who may not have support needs. However, the Council will need to ensure it still has access to suitable accommodation for teenage parents who require first stage interim accommodation; it is therefore necessary to provide night-time cover at Spring Cottage to respond to emergencies and manage the building. This will also enable the Council to provide women-only accommodation for female residents who want it due to their personal circumstances.


A pilot will enable the Council to test the new model to help inform the future service model and funding arrangements.

Alternative options considered:

Do nothing

The current service provider has served notice on the existing contract and is seeking to exit by 1 July 2019; although Metropolitan Thames Valley has indicated they will continue to provide a service for a short period, if required, as we transition to the new arrangements. There is a no-fault break clause in the contract that can be activated by either party during the contract. While the current service is under-utilised officers consider new arrangements are necessary to ensure appropriate service provision is still available for teenage parents in the future as there aren’t any other similar services available in the borough. For these reasons this option is not recommended.


Directly award a 9-month contract for a night-time concierge service and provide support through an existing floating support service

As set out in section 5 an options appraisal indicates this is the optimal option in the short-term to ensure appropriate services are in place from 1 July 2019. A pilot allows the Council to test the new model and will help inform the longer term arrangements. For these reasons this option is recommended.       

Publication date: 03/06/2019

Date of decision: 03/06/2019

Accompanying Documents: