Tuesday, March 16, 2010

No one makes mistakes in contracts ... or do they?

Westminster car-clamping finds a flaw in the oinkment
Simon English
Evening Standard 16th March 2010

In February, Westminster council unveiled which firm it had chosen to run a £50 million, four-year parking contract (clamping and ticketing drivers, basically).
Competition to land the tender was fierce and the winner, Mouchel, had reason to be pleased. The press release announcing the news has since been pulled from the council website — why, I asked?

Westminster tells me it has “suspended the procurement process” for its on-street parking enforcement “following the discovery of a flaw in the contract document”. What this means isn't entirely clear but the whole bidding process now has to be repeated at considerable cost to council taxpayers. NSL, which held the previous contract, is also presumably being paid extra to continue its work.

Westminster's parking department is no stranger to controversy. There are, so far as we know, two inquiries into contracts awarded by the department. One of them sees allegations of fraud levelled at two Westminster officials — police are investigating.

Neil Herron of ParkingAppeals.co.uk, a one-stop shop for motorist complaints about grasping councils, reckons there is something thoroughly fishy about how Westminster conducts its parking affairs. There may be more news to emerge here…

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