Things are, it seems, getting worse. The title to this article is not a tribute to my lack of imagination. Rather, it is the heading to a page on the Government website. Or, more accurately, the full heading is “Everything Net Zero – Services, Products, Solutions, and Support for the public sector transition to Net Zero”.
The whole thing has crept up on me, and came to my attention only because it was mentioned in a postscript to an article at the Daily Sceptic website which dealt mostly with an issue discussed elswhere at Cliscep, namely the gross exaggeration by the BBC that a bit of mild criticism of climate hype by weather forecasters constitues abuse and trolling. That story was also covered by Paul Homewood.
However, I digress. The Government web page with the non-glamorous title is referring to a contract (which has now been awarded), worth £70 billion, to cover a four year period. I’ll write that again. £70 billion. Supposedly the contract start date was 28th July 2022, and the purpose of the contract is to provide a “compliant procurement vehicle to access a range of products, services, solutions and support to achieve public sector ‘Net Zero’ strategies across the whole range of fields in education and the wider public sector.”
Unfortunately, because I learned of this after the contract was entered into, the Framework tender page now offers up no useful information to enable analysis of this contract, advising instead that “The deadline to apply/submit for Everything Net Zero is now over.”
Given the huge value of the contract, the silence about this on the part of the mainstream media is rather puzzling. They may have reported on it, I suppose, but I can find no reference to it anywhere on the BBC website, and I certainly have not heard any reference to it on BBC radio news and current affairs programmes. An internet search produced a solitary news item on the FMBusinessDaily website, and that in turn seems to be a regurgitation of a press release issued by the East of England Broadbank Network.
And who (or what) is the East of England Broadband Network (or E2BN as they trendily call themselves)? According to the Everybody Wiki website they are “one of 10 Regional Broadband Consortia (RBCs) set up by the UK Government to help raise standards in teaching and learning by the use of broadband technology.” And so, for me at least, the plot thickens. Why did the Government choose to funnel a £70 billion contract through what seems to be a relatively obscure Government subisdiary in the form of a company limited by guarantee? I genuinely don’t know the answer to that question. Unless they wanted to make sure it remained low key.
But back to the press release. Dated 25th July 2022, it tells us that the contract has been awarded to Place Group Limited, but doesn’t really tell us anything about that company. Place Group’s own website tells us:
Place Group is a specialist consulting, research, project management and procurement company with 20 years’ experience working across the public and social sectors. We take our responsibility to make a difference very seriously, and work with our clients on their challenges to create lasting impact. This could be helping them create Net Zero supply chains, advising on purchasing efficiencies, providing resource as part of a client’s team or simply adding capacity and expertise on an as and when needed basis. We have also created and built over 100 new state schools, devised growth strategies for multi-academy trusts, and carried out education research studies and Early Years Child Care assessments.
In addition, we deliver innovative solutions, services, products and support for public sector buyers to efficiently and compliantly access expert supply chains across our Facilities Management and Net Zero frameworks.
Whatever your specific needs and requirements are with regard to education strategy and research, procurement, strategic resourcing solutions or Net Zero, we are ready and motivated to help with our friendly, knowledgeable and bespoke service.
It sounds good, if you’re in to that sort of thing. And so it should for 70 billion smackeroos.
So far so good. What will Place Group actually be doing in return for all that taxpayer money? To be honest, I’m not sure about that either. All I know is that net zero has to be in everything to do with the public sector, and Place Group’s job seems to be to facilitate that. So far as I can tell, the money is for facilitating, not for making it happen. I think the taxpayer can expect another (sadly considerably larger) bill for that part of the job.
No, all I can tell you is what the notes at the end of the press release would tell editors (if any editors beyond the FMBusinessDaily website showed any interest):
Everything Net Zero is a framework agreement set up by the East of England Broadband Network (E2BN). E2BN has already successfully introduced Everything ICT and Everything FM.
The Framework Agreement is for use by UK public sector bodies. This includes;
- Schools, Academies and Multi Academy Trusts
- Regional Broadband Consortia
- Colleges and Universities
- Central Government Departments and their Arm’s Length Bodies and Agencies
- Non-Departmental Public Bodies, NHS bodies and Local Authorities (County, Unitary, District, Borough, Parish, Town), Devolved Administrations
- Fire Service
- Police Service
- Transport services
- Buying consortiums and charities.
Public sector bodies need a compliant procurement vehicle to access a range of products, services, solutions and support to achieve public sector ‘Net Zero’ strategies* across education and the wider public sector. Such areas include;
- reducing all emissions, especially carbon
- increasing the use of sustainable resource
- improving recycling
- exploiting greener technologies and innovation
- ways to improve ventilation
- greener power generation
- improved waste management and exploitation
- greener use of utilities: water, electricity, gas, oils, and other fuels, including hydrogen, battery and nuclear
- greener transportation
- improved design of buildings and open spaces
- more sustainable use of old buildings and brownfield sites
- sustainable building works and planting within parks and green spaces, and
- accessing financing, grants and awards.
Everything Net Zero enables education, central and local government, other public sector and associated organisations to deliver a comprehensive, greener strategy.
The asterisk, by the way, leads to a footnote to the effect that:
Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener – policies and proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy to meet our net zero targets by 2050.
What more is there to say about this bizarre and rather worrying story? Well, suffice it to say that the contract appears to have been signed in the last few days, and any new Prime Minister will be stuck with it. The Green Blob embedded in Parliament and the civil service seem to be doing rather a good job of making sure that any political change of heart about the wisdom of net zero is going to be met with a significant fait accompli. And it’s going to cost an awful lot of money. Shouldn’t our national state broadcaster be looking into this sort of thing? Shouldn’t someone be asking questions in Parliament? Can’t someone make it stop?