28/03/2024 - 24/00012 - Contingency contract to provide emergency facilities in the event of a mass fatality incident

Proposed Decision:


To give delegated authority to the Director for Growth and Communities, to take any necessary actions to enter into a contract for the provision of temporary emergency facilities, including mortuary facilities, in the event of a mass fatality incident



Reason for the decision


KCC currently has a contingency contract for the provision of temporary emergency facilities in the event of a mass fatality incident. That contract expires on 31st May 2024, having been previously extended.


Whilst the retainer element of the contract represents relatively small expenditure of approximately £4100 per year, in the event that it is required to be called upon the expenditure is likely to be in excess of £1m.


Background – Provide brief additional context


KCC has legal duties to plan and prepare for emergencies which may occur in Kent. The potential for an emergency to occur which results in mass fatalities is recognised. In relatively recent years other local authorities have had to manage such situations including the Grenfell Tower fire, the Shoreham air crash and the Manchester Arena bombing.


A mass fatality incident is defined as being an incident where one or more of the following key elements are present:


·      there are multiple deceased (actual or potential);

·      the nature of the incident is likely to make identification of the deceased difficult;

·      some or many of the deceased are lying in difficult to access locations;

·      there are fragmented human remains;

·      the incident was as a result of terrorist or criminal activity;

·      hazards are present at the scene, for example, asbestos, chemicals, radiological debris, that need to be considered before recovering the deceased, property and evidence;

·      mortuary capacity is, or may become, exceeded or overwhelmed.


There are existing arrangements in place to designate one or more hospital mortuaries in the event of such an incident. If the incident were to be of large scale or occur at a time which corresponded with peak mortuary occupation, for example during winter pressures, then local facilities might be unable to cope and emergency, temporary facilities would be required to allow for the management and identification of the deceased whilst maintaining appropriate dignity and respect.


KCC holds the existing contract on behalf of the Kent Resilience Forum (KRF) partners. The contract allows for KRF partners to call down elements of it to support their roles and responsibilities. Each partner organisation is responsible for meeting the costs of the elements that they call down. It is proposed that the new contract will be on the same basis.


Options (other options considered but discarded)


-     Do nothing. This would leave KCC exposed to not meeting its duties to provide the facilities necessary to accommodate the coroners in carrying out their work and also to significant reputational risk in the event that there is nowhere to accommodate the deceased with dignity and respect out of public view.

-     Rely on national government, local mutual aid agreements or military support. National government no longer maintains capability in this area. Mutual aid agreements are already part of the emergency plan for this type of event, but they are limited in scope and are unlikely to be able to provide the physical accommodation for the deceased which would be required. Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) may be sought in such an incident but it cannot be guaranteed and, again, is unlikely to be able to provide appropriate physical accommodation. MACA requires that all civil options have been exhausted before it can be undertaken.


How the proposed decision supports Framing Kent’s Future 2022-2026: (https://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council/strategies-and-policies/corporate-policies/our-council-strategy)


The decision concerns the provision of infrastructure for the community in the event of an emergency and forms part of KCC’s role in making Kent’s communities safe.


How the proposed decision supports: Securing Kent’s Future:democracy.kent.gov.uk/documents/s121235/Securing Kents Future - Budget Recovery Strategy.pdf


The decision results from a review of an existing contract. The new contract will be of a ‘call off’ nature, allowing KCC to only call off the elements it needs to support its duties. It will also provide the framework to allow partners to call off elements for their own purposes but will provide the means and clarity to ensure that KCC only pays for those elements which it calls off itself.






Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services

Decision due date: Not before 27/03/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Lead officer: Mark Rolfe

Notice of decision: 27/02/2024

Anticipated restriction: Open

21/03/2024 - 24/00017 - Highways & Transportation Professional Services Framework

Proposed decision:


For the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport to:


APPROVE the procurement and contract award f a zero value Professional Services framework contract


DELEGATE authority to the Director of Highways and Transportation, to take relevant actions to facilitate the required procurement activity.


DELEGATE authority to the Director of Highways and Transportation, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, awarding, finalising the terms of and entering into the relevant contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary, to implement the decision.

Delegate authority to the Director of Highways and Transportation, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, to award extensions of contracts for commissioned services in accordance with the extension clauses within the contract (4 years + 2 year extension).


Further Information:


Highways & Transportation (H&T) have a duty to ensure the effective discharge of the Council’s statutory duties and powers as Local Transport and Highway Authority, including the duty of care to help ensure safe passage for all road users. Our focus is on improving lives by ensuring every pound spent in Kent is delivering better outcomes for Kent’s residents, communities and businesses.


To deliver its duties to the community, H&T requires a professional engineering consultancy services contract. Kent needs a flexible, resilient mechanism to seamlessly access a source of multidisciplinary technical expertise to guarantee the effective, efficient and  timely delivery of projects including  schemes, for the fulfilment of H&T’s statutory duties as the Highway Authority.



This framework is a multi-supplier (2 to 3 suppliers), multi-disciplinary contract for Professional Services of zero guaranteed value, although it is estimated that circa £6m of Professional Services will be commissioned through these arrangements per annum over a maximum period of 6-year period (4 years +2). 


Do nothing.

We have ruled out the option of using other external frameworks from other Local Authorities, CCS, and Central Purchasing organisations such as ESPO as this poses a great risk to the Council as we will have no commercial input to their terms and conditions or their approach. Value for money is not guaranteed. The Council have no formal means to address poor performance, there are too many suppliers on these frameworks (the market indicates it is too much competition).

There is no incentive to build long-term professional relationships with KCC.


The Professional Services Contract has been included in the following current plans:


·   Highways & Transportation, Divisional Operating Plan 2024-25

·   Growth Environment and Transport Directorate Business Plan



This contract also contributes to H&T’s priorities, objectives and outcomes that are informed byKCC’s Framing Kent's Future and Securing Kent’s Future.


This framework will support these by ensuring.


  • Customer satisfaction by providing ‘the right services in the right way for the right people’ via commissioning the right consultants to deliver quality services in a timely and efficient manner.


  • Maximising lifespan and minimising lifecycle costs of the highway and its assets. Improving maintainability by embedding asset management principles into everything we do by ensuring that designs and advice is future proofed by looking at alternative materials and technology.


  • Cost effective statutory and discretionary services by commissioning well and being commercially astute via effective collaboration with our consultants to foster good relationships and empower them to deliver good quality services and value for money.


  • Growth and economic prosperity through efficient highway and transport infrastructure by ensuring that designs and advice are innovative and forward thinking.


  • Maximise inward investment into Kent by encouraging the use of SME’s in the supply chain and utilising the wider consultants' skills to identify greater investment potential within Kent.


  • Retaining a safe, healthy and motivated workforce with high levels of job satisfaction (creating ‘more good days at work’) by forward planning to help manage resources effectively, encouraging creativity and innovation to motivate all stakeholders to create safer designs for all.



Financial Implications:


There are no financial risks to the Council from developing this zero-value framework, as the Council is only required to pay for consultancy services as they are commissioned. 


The anticipated expenditure over the initial 4-year period may be in the region of £27,000,000, this is based on the historic spend of £6,750,00 per annum through the current framework. Should the extension period of 2 years be taken (6-year total), we estimate the expenditure to be in the region of £40,500,000.


It is anticipated that a 70% of requirements commissioned through this Zero value framework will be funded externally, 50% of these include specialist design and planning works relating to Major Capital projects, covered by Central government funding award to deliver a particular scheme (such as Levelling up Fund and Housing infrastructure) in addition to these we receive external funding from a variety of other sources (this will be detailed in the cabinet committee report).


The remaining 30% of the services commissioned through the framework relates to core business, some of which is also externally funded, that directly support the delivery of KCC statutory obligations such as The Highways Act 1980, Well managed Highways, and the Road Tunnel Safety Regulations 2007 via specialist support with inspections and maintenance of KCC managed structures and Tunnels; as well as specialist advice  commissioned with respect to Flood management and flood investigations.


In establishing the zero-value framework contract, Kent County Council does not commit in any way to awarding any volume or value of works to the appointed suppliers. This will allow flexibility where services required are likely to be affected by KCC budgetary pressures and uncertainty around internal and external funding.




Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Decision due date: Not before 27/03/2024 To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations

Lead officer: Tim Read

Notice of decision: 27/02/2024

Anticipated restriction: Part exempt