Catering, hospitality, event management and support services at Uckfield Civic Centre and Foresters Hall are out for tender.
At present, services are provided “in-house” by the town council which wants to explore ways of providing services at the least cost alongside best value for the council taxpayer.
The tendering process was agreed in April by councillors when they made it clear the Civic Centre was not for sale. See report here
Documentation which goes with the public tender document says:
“The Civic Centre currently houses the Town Council Offices, but also has different sized rooms that are available for hire with or without hospitality provided by the in-house catering service.
“In addition to the Civic Centre meeting rooms, the council owns Foresters Hall, which is a five-minute drive away. Currently, this hall is hired out for voluntary youth groups and commercial exercise classes among other things.
“Fundamental to this procurement is the operation of a 70-seat public restaurant, which is open between 10:00-15:00, Monday to Saturday. It is also used as a licensed bar for evening functions.
“Uckfield Town Council is looking for a suitably experienced and qualified operator to manage the public restaurant, events, hospitality, room bookings and support services at the Civic Centre.
“The Civic Centre is a valuable local resource, which has scope to grow from the development of the current public restaurant and commercial events.
“In return for a five-year contract with the option to extend for a further two years, the successful company will be expected to successfully TUPE [which protects existing staff when a business is sold or transferred] current staff and be responsible for the general management of the catering and event booking procedure.”
Estimated value excluding VAT: £150,000.
“The contractor will be responsible for all cost associated with operating the restaurant event and hospitality business. The anticipated financial arrangement is for a guaranteed nil cost service to the council with sharing of profit, although this will be considered on the most economically advantageous tender.”
Applicants will have to pass tests on suitablity to run the operation, including economic and financial ability.
Applications close on September 1 at noon.
A report will be made to a full council meeting for a decision. Councillors are not obliged to accept any tenders.