Decision details

Mortuary Services - Delegated Authority to Award Contract

Decision status: For Determination

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


The Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report seeking authority to enter into a contract to deliver mortuary services for HM Senior Coroner for Berkshire with effect from 1 April 2020, in accordance with the Council’s Contract Procedure Rules and the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.


The report noted that the Council currently had arrangements in place with two NHS Trusts to provide mortuary facilities: Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust and Frimley Heath NHS Foundation Trust (Wexham Park Hospital, Slough).  Mortuaries were specialist facilities and no other suitable sites were available in Berkshire other than those used by the service.  The current contract with the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust had been in place since 2015 and would cease on 31 March 2020. A market testing exercise had been completed to explore alternative delivery models and to ensure that the council was receiving value for money, but no responses had been received, which confirmed the limited market for these services.  As a result, a Prior Information Notice had been published in September 2019 to give advance notice that the Council intended to arrange contracts for mortuary and post mortem services and to award contracts to the incumbent providers without further publication, unless expressions of interest were received from alternative economic operators. No expressions of interest had been received.    


The report explained that the two mortuaries in Reading and Slough which were used by the Coroner’s service were now the responsibility of Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Services (BSPS), a joint venture between Ashford & St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Frimley Heath NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.  Officers had started negotiations with BSPS to enter into a single contract to cover both sites, and it was proposed that the contract be for an initial three-year term with the option of extending up to a further 48 months.


Resolved –


(1)     That the recommended procurement route and process as set out in the report be noted;


(2)     That the Executive Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services, in consultation with the Leader of the Council, the Assistant Director of Legal and Democratic Services and the Assistant Director of Finance, be authorised to enter into a contract with Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Services (BSPS) to provide mortuary services from 1 April 2020.

Publication date: 13/02/2020

Date of decision: 20/01/2020

Decided at meeting: 20/01/2020 - Policy Committee

Accompanying Documents: