Monday, December 06, 2010

PiP frameworks revised after European ruling

European Commission upholds procurement complaint
Parking Review November 2010

Lee RowleyWestminster City Council has been found to have infringed European Union rules on local government procurement by the European Commission (EC). The commission investigated a complaint about the city council’s decision to enable members of the Partners in Parking (PiP) procurement group to join in its use of a mobile phone parking system rather than go through their own tendering process.

The EC was investigating a complaint originally made to the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), part of the UK government’s Cabinet Office. The anonymous complainant said the phone parking contract should have been re-tendered.

The EC?agreed with the complaint and asked the OGC to take “appropriate and adequate measures for the purpose of terminating the infringement in question”.

On 20 November the EC reoported: “Westminster committed to ensure that the public bodies, parties to the framework agreement, were restricted to those expressly listed in the contract documents. Furthermore, the Office of Government Commerce has published and updated guidance on the matter, ensuring adequate identification of the bodies permitted to use framework agreements. Finally, Westminster City Council decided to limit the duration of the framework agreement to the period permitted by law.”

The framework agreement is now restricted to four years and limited to PiP’s original members: Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Islington and Camden and Transport for London.
Lee Rowley, Westminster Council’s cabinet member for parking, said: “We cooperated fully with the European Commission and OGC. It’s important to note that there was no punitive action taken by the EU against the council. Indeed, if the council had committed a serious wrongdoing then the case would have been escalated to the European Court.”

There is no suggestion that phone system provider Verrus was at fault during the process.

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