A team from Laing O’Rourke is in talks with Viglen, Sir Alan Sugar’s computer services company, to see if it will join its consortium to provide services for Building Schools for the Future projects.
O’Rourke has been positioning itself so it can provide small investment stakes in BSF contracts, as it wants to lead consortiums in bidding for the programme.
A team from O’Rourke has already met Viglen, including Michelle Dewberry, the winner of Alan Sugar’s television programme The Apprentice, over a potential deal.
Michael Fern, Viglen’s BSF manager, confirmed that his company was in discussions with Laing O’Rourke, but added that it was also talking to other contractors, including Willmott Dixon, Taylor Woodrow and Balfour Beatty. He said: “Viglen are committed to BSF and are investigating all channels to markets. We are building on our reputation of a good relationship with education.”
However, it is understood that the team from O’Rourke has decided not to proceed with Viglen in a deal for a project it is working on in east London. A senior O’Rourke source said: “We met with Viglen to discuss the possibility of providing information, communication and technology services for the Building Schools for the Future programme but we may be able to do business with the firm on future projects.”
Viglen was established in 1975 by Sugar and according to its website sells itself as “a provider of services and products to the schools market including the integration of diverse technologies”. The website says the firm’s “successes in delivering multi-million-pound solutions underpin our BSF and academies programme”.
BSF is the government’s £45bn programme to rebuild every secondary school in England. The project has been beset by delays and the first scheme, led by contractor Skanska for four schools in Bristol, has only just reached financial close – seven moths after a preferred bidder was selected.