States pulls out of post-16 campus construction deal

WORKING with RG Falla would be too risky for taxpayers’ money, the States of Guernsey has said, after it pulled out of a deal for the firm to construct the new post-16 education campus.

The Guernsey Institute at Les Ozouets Campus. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31547962)
The Guernsey Institute at Les Ozouets Campus. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31547962)

The collapse in relations was blamed on a recent restructure of the construction firm, which then sought to unilaterally change the contract terms, the States said.

Education, Sport & Culture president Andrea Dudley-Owen said it had to safeguard public money.

‘To say this is very disappointing is an understatement, but we felt we had no choice following recent discussions with RG Falla,’ she said.

‘The changes it was trying to introduce meant the new terms failed our due diligence processes, which are designed to mitigate the risk to public money when entering large-scale financial commitments such as this build.’

The construction firm’s tender to redevelop the former St Peter Port School site into a new post-16 campus at Les Ozouets was accepted in June.

But the deal fell apart this week, with the States withdrawing from the relationship on Tuesday.

Paul Mason had been managing director of the company since 2021. But it is understood he had left the company in the last week and the company’s staff information page has been wiped. Mr Mason declined to comment.

Former Garenne Group chairman Stuart Falla is no longer connected with RG Falla.

The firm has been involved with some of the major States projects in the past, such as extending the Royal Court building, as well as constructing St Sampson’s High School, Les Beaucamps High School and the Grammar School Sixth Form Centre.

The company was approached for comment but did not respond.

States of Guernsey chief operating officer Jason Moriarty said staff had been working hard to support and advise the Transforming Education Programme with the aim of keeping the build programme on track.

‘But unfortunately that has not been possible,’ he said.

‘Once the necessary due diligence was carried out, in response to the contractor’s changes in approach, there was a consensus that we could not recommend proceeding. The States Strategic Leadership Team has also reviewed the circumstances and fully supports the actions taken to ensure an unacceptable level of risk was not carried by taxpayers.’

Education, Sport & Culture, supported by the States’ Procurement Team, is reviewing alternative options through discussions with alternative construction firms.

While it will delay the Les Ozouets plans, ESC hopes that other secondary and post-16 education elements will remain on target for September 2025. This includes maintaining changes to the primary schools’ feeder model, the transition of students from La Mare de Carteret High School to Les Varendes in September 2025 and the introduction of the new staffing structure for the Secondary School Partnership, which is currently in an advanced stage of development.

These will ensure the reorganisation into three 11-16 secondary schools and a separate sixth form will continue as planned.

Detailed work is being carried out on options to maintain this momentum and further information will be provided to all stakeholders as soon as possible.

Top Stories

More From The Guernsey Press

UK & International News