Wakefield Council property partner Engie fined around £15k a month for contract failures

Wakefield Council signed a 200m deal with Engie in 2016.
Wakefield Council signed a 200m deal with Engie in 2016.

Wakefield Council's property partner is being fined an average of £15,000 each month for incomplete works, it's been revealed.

Engie manages the council's buildings, including 80 schools across the district, and is responsible for their maintenance and any repairs.

The company is receiving regular fines for falling short on some parts of the seven year contract it signed with the council in 2016.

But a report on the deal revealed the firm has significantly improved its performance, having incurred penalties of around £200,000 a month at one stage for poor performance, amid complaints of incomplete repairs and a backlog of works.

The report, which will go before Wakefield's audit committee next week, said: "New process are in place to manage requests for works, which have reduced the volume of waiting and poor customer service previously experienced by users of the service.

"There is still work to do in terms of further improvements, however these should be deemed as continuous improvements and innovations.

"Penalties have significantly reduced, indicating better delivery of services.

"As an average, penalties (around December 2018) were in the region of £200k per month. These have now reduced to an average of £15k per month and a better working relationship is assisting with working together in order to reduce these with clear formulated action plans."

The report also revealed that Engie was given a final warning to get its act together in August 2017 and that the difficulties at one stage left staff "at risk".

But it was praised for a number of recent actions, including the fundraising of £12,000 for Wakefield Hospice and the mental health charity Mind.

It has also taken on 23 apprentices in the past two years, and offered support to jobseekers with tasks such as CV writing.

Around 700 council staff had their contracts transferred to Engie when the contract was signed in 2016.

The council has the option of extending the deal by a further three years.

Local Democracy Reporting Service