Council launches all-party group to oversee buying

21 October 2009

22 October 2009 | Allie Anderson

A West Yorkshire authority is to set up a purchasing panel in response to "serious concerns" raised by an investigation into its procurement processes.

Calderdale Council told SM it will establish an all-party working group to oversee the award of contracts for services worth more than £60,000.

Earlier this year, following members' complaints about the handling of a waste disposal contract, Calderdale Council commissioned a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). It found several "potential breaches" of EU procurement rules, including failure to consider various purchasing methods, such as engagement in competitive dialogue or negotiations. It also exposed a lack of transparency in the council's requirements, and found that two bids were permitted from Sita UK, instead of one (Web news, 25 September).

Members questioned whether the council had done enough to ensure the winning waste management provider collaborated with its preferred local social enterprise, Kerbside. Successful bidder Sita UK started work on the deal in August 2008, but failed to strike a partnership with Kerbside.

Council chief executive Owen Williams, who will set up the all-party group, called the procedures in the waste collection contract "unacceptable". He will also carry out internal investigations into the conduct and capabilities of officers involved in the deal.

PwC's recommendations were approved by the council on 1 October. A spokesman said further details, including which members will sit on the procurement panel and how it will operate, would not be known for "some time".

SMoct2009

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