Monica Castelino Confirmed as Parks Manager
I am delighted to confirm Monica Castelino’s very well deserved appointment as Parks Manager for the borough. Many might not have realised that she was working as interim Parks Manager.

Monica has worked in the borough since 2007 in a variety of roles in the Parks team. During this time she has consistently displayed a calm and practical can-do attitude and a real commitment to the parks. She also works extremely well with all the different stakeholders both inside and outside the parks. Most recently she has brought all those skills and knowledge to bear in the re-procurement of our parks contract. We are extremely fortunate to have such a dedicated officer.

Councillor Emma Will

[Spring 2021]


idverde Wins Parks Contract

The parks management contract, held by idverde expires on 31 March 2021. The Council was required to put the contract out to tender, and followed a rigorous procurement process that invited and assessed competitive tenders. This twelve-month process was designed to establish which contractor offered the best parks maintenance service, both in terms of quality and value for money. The contract covers 90 parks and green spaces in the borough and is for horticultural work, grass cutting, path sweeping, general cleaning, sports bookings and a number of other services.

The procurement process started with public consultation, to which some of The Friends contributed, and proceeded through three stages, with bidders’ detailed responses to the brief at each stage. The procurement team read some 600+ pages of documents per stage. This team was made up of specialists in relevant disciplines: parks management, law, insurance, sustainability, finance, communications and procurement, as well as a representative of The Friends on behalf of borough park users. Eunomia, specialists in procurement, provided independent oversight to ensure the whole exercise was robust and fair.

 Tessa Lee of Eunomia reported that: “The procurement process, using the Competitive Procedure with Negotiation procedure, is one of the most robust and detailed we have run for a grounds maintenance contract. Monica Castelino (RBKC Parks Manager) and the team put in a huge amount of work ensuring the initial documents were well written and the requirements conveyed clearly to bidders. During the process the team answered all clarification questions from bidders quickly and clearly, which was crucial to keeping to the tight timescales of the project. After the initial stages, the project board decided, after careful consideration, to continue to negotiation and the final tender stage. This decision proved very successful as the requirements and priorities of the Authority were clearly outlined to bidders in meetings leading to large improvements in the final tenders. In summary, the whole RBKC team has worked extremely hard the past year, in tough circumstances, to ensure the best solution for the Authority. We have very much enjoyed working with such a dedicated and hardworking team and wish RBKC and the Friends all the best for the new contract.”

Bids were anonymous in the documentation and were scored against 21 criteria. Of all the competitive tenders, idverde had the highest score and have been awarded the contract. This decision was approved by the RBKC Leadership Team on 9 December 2020. It was also agreed that idverde should renew its various leases in connection with the parks, including the lease for the plant nursery in Holland Park.

What happens next?  Well, it is not just more of the same. The new contract includes greater emphasis on horticulture, social value, carbon reduction, biodiversity, community engagement and technology. Different performance standards have been set to provide more clarity for all. There will be an additional post for a training and community manager and an enhanced volunteer programme. The new contract starts on 1 April 2021.

Ben Binnell, idverde’s contract director said: ‘We are delighted to have been awarded the Kensington and Chelsea contract. It was the toughest bid that I have been involved with and I look forward to many years of protecting the green assets on behalf of Kensington and Chelsea residents and appropriately improving the biodiversity and maintenance of these.’

Jennie Kettlewell

Photo by idverde

[Spring 2021]