Sunday, February 07, 2010

Serious errors in council contracts

The spotlight is going to shine on loacal authorities parking enforcement contracts shortly. Hope all is in order and the necessary procurement rules have been followed.
Should contracts have gone out to tender?

Stoke-on-Trent City Council made 'serious' bid errors By Liz Copper
BBC Midlands Today,

Much of the work was aimed at renewing or building homes
A council in Staffordshire has said it made "serious" errors in the way it awarded contracts.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council paid Kinders Ltd more than £3.2m for work it has carried out across the city in the past four years.
The firm did nothing wrong, but the contract should have been put out to tender, the council said.

It has begun an inquiry and said it would not rule out taking disciplinary action against its staff.
The council said the payments were for jobs carried out "on an as-and-when basis".

No competition
Phil Crossland, the council's director of transportation and planning, said: "As a public authority it's not good practice.
"We should have seen the amount of work coming up and it should have been tendered as a proper term contract."

Much of the work was carried out as part of the government-backed Pathfinder regeneration project.
The project aims to renew and replace homes. Instead of large contracts being awarded, the work was done in a piecemeal way.
As the work was not advertised, there was no competition, which may have resulted in the council paying more than it needed to.
Rob Flello, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent South, said he would raise the issue with housing ministers.
He added: "I mean, £3.2m - it just breaks all the rules in terms of procurement policy. We're talking about millions of pounds - outrageous."

The council has not broken the law, but it said it would conduct a "forensic audit", which involves looking at thousands of invoices for the completed work.

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