Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 23rd April, 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield, EN1 3XA. View directions

Contact: Stacey Gilmour 

Items
No. Item

1089.

WELCOME & APOLOGIES

Minutes:

The Chair, Councillor Levy welcomed all attendees to the meeting.

Apologies had been received from: Councillor Nesil Caliskan (Leader), Councillor Susan Erbil, Councillor Huseyin Akpinar, Councillor Gina Needs and Councillor Lee David-Sanders.

 

Councillor Rick Jewell was substituting for Councillor Gina Needs.  Councillor Sinan Boztas was substituting for Councillor Susan Erbil.  Councillor James Hockney was substituting for Councillor Lee David—Sanders and Councillor Michael Rye was substituting for Councillor Edward Smith for item 3 (Call In :ESPO Framework 664-117 Contract Awards) as Councillor Smith was leading on this Call-In.  Councillor Laban was leading on the Call-In for item 4 (Procurement of External Legal Advisers for the Meridian Water Programme).

1090.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Members of the Council are invited to identify any disclosable pecuniary, other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests relevant to the items on the agenda.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

1091.

CALL IN: ESPO FRAMEWORK 664-117 CONTRACT AWARDS pdf icon PDF 142 KB

To receive and consider a report from the Director of Law and Governance outlining details of a call-in received on the PortfolioDecision taken on ESPO Framework 664-117 Contract Awards (Report No. 222)

 

The decision that has been called in was a Portfolio Decision taken on 26 March 2019 and included on the Publication of Decision List No: 58/18-19 (List Ref:1/58/18-19) issued on 26 March 2019.

 

It is proposed that consideration of the call-in be structured as follows:

· Brief outline of the reasons for the call-in by representative (s) of the members who   have called in the decision

· Response to the reasons provided for the Call-in by a Cabinet Member responsible for taking the decision

· Debate by Overview and Scrutiny Committee and agreement of action to be taken

 

Please also see the Part 2 agenda

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report from the Director of Law and Governance outlining details of a call-in received on the Portfolio decision taken by the Leader on -ESPO Framework 664-117 Contract Awards (Report No:222).

 

NOTED that this report was considered in conjunction with the information in the part 2 agenda. All discussion was held under the part 1 section of the agenda.

 

Councillor Levy reminded everyone that discussion on the call-in should be about the specific reasons for call-in given in the papers and response to this.

 

The Chair invited Councillor Smith to outline the reasons for call-in.

 

Councillor Smith said he was not criticising the report but the outcome from the procurement process. 

 

He highlighted his concerns as follows:

1.    That only one bid had been received for the provision of multi-disciplinary planning and design services over the next four years at Meridian Water. Value for money for this was not demonstrated.

2.    The report describes the procurement process employed. The decision was made to use the ESPO Framework (Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation), with a ‘Lot selection’ (Lot 8g) applied for the services we required. He explained that other frameworks could have been used. Of the ten companies who could have been approached to tender for this work from the framework he anticipated that four or five would be interested and he thought they should have been spoken to by one of our senior representatives to determine their interest. From this we should have been able to determine whether the ‘Lot’ we had applied was appropriate or whether another should have been used.

3.    Only four weeks was given for bidders to respond to this multi-disciplinary planning and design service and the field invited to tender was too large for the firms to have a realistic chance of success.

4.    The parent company in the US of the successful bidder had been in various contractual disputes with the US Government and others. It was questioned whether the Leader would have been aware of this fact, when she took this decision. It was thought this should have been a consideration when deciding to award the contract.

 

Councillor Smith said he thought the procurement system used appears to be flawed, the arrangements used should be reviewed as it appears that the only opportunity to scrutinise decisions of this kind is through the call-in process.

 

Responses given were provided by Sarah Cary, Peter Alekkou and Lisa Woo as follows:

  1. When considering the aspect of ‘value for money’ it is not only the financial details but also efficiency that should be shown. In August we had looked at using a multi- disciplinary approach, to work across a range of projects.
  2. In September 2018 the Council invited tenders from all Service Providers contained within Lot 8g ‘Regeneration and Regional Development’ to submit a tender, except for those who had requested to be excluded from the tender. Of the 10 appropriate suppliers, five had confirmed their interest.
  3. The four weeks given for bidders is not  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1091.

1092.

CALL IN: PROCUREMENT OF EXTERNAL LEGAL ADVISERS FOR THE MERIDIAN WATER PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 143 KB

To receive and consider a report from the Director of Law and Governance outlining details of a call-in received on the Operational Decision taken on Procurement of External Legal Advisers for the Meridian Water Programme (Report No. 221)

 

The decision that has been called in was an Operational Decision taken on 27 March 2019 and included on the Publication of Decision List No: 60/18-19 (List Ref: 1/60/18-19) issued on 29 March 2019.

 

It is proposed that consideration of the call-in be structured as follows:

· Brief outline of the reasons for the call-in by representative (s) of the members who   have called in the decision

· Response to the reasons provided for the Call-in by a Cabinet Member responsible for taking the decision

· Debate by Overview and Scrutiny Committee and agreement of action to be taken

 

Please also see the Part 2 agenda

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report from the Director of Law and Governance outlining details of a call-in received on the Operational Decision taken on Procurement of External Legal Advisers for the Meridian Water Programme (Report No. 221)

 

NOTED that this report was considered in conjunction with the information in the part 2 agenda.  All discussion was held under the part 1 section of the agenda.

 

The Chair invited Councillor Laban to outline the reasons for call-in.

 

Councillor Laban highlighted the following:

  1. It is not clear why the decision to continue with the original contract - Trowers and Hamlins LLP was taken so late, when it had expired on 4 March 2019. Therefore, there had been a break in continuity.
  2. Although it had been stated that the Procurement and Commissioning Board had approved the procurement and use of the CCS (Crown Commercial Service) Framework in August 2018, it took eight months to award the contract. Using the framework had taken longer than it would have done using the OJEU (Official Journal of EU). Knowing that the contract was due to expire 4 March 2019 it is not clear why there was this delay.
  3. Although it has been stated that best value has been achieved, it is not clear how this has been assessed, for example whether there has been any benchmarking undertaken.
  4. Under the contract we are paying via an hourly rate system, it is not clear why this should be preferable to using a capped fee service.

 

Cllr Boztas left the meeting at this point.

 

The Chair said it may be helpful if the Director of Law & Governance could explain why it was considered a crucial time for the contract to continue with the same provider rather than to transition to an alternative. Also, why if this is crucial why the contract is only for a year.

 

Responses given were provided by Jeremy Chambers and Melanie Dawson as follows:

  1. Throughout the delivery of the Meridian Water Project, there will be different points where it may be advantageous to have a new procurement for legal advice.  However, this is not the time for this as we are in a transitional phase and there are significant benefits in terms of efficiency and effectiveness in ensuring continuity of service with Trowers and Hamlins LLP. This company have extensive knowledge of the complexities of the Meridian Water project and their experience would be necessary as the next phase of Meridian Water is brought forward.
  2. Robust contract monitoring is undertaken.  We are sourcing our own in- house team and this would be helped by extending the Trowers & Hamlins LLP contract for the one year term.  Trowers & Hamlins LLP would support the in-house team only where there is insufficient capacity or expertise in-house.  Council officers are currently exploring the possibility of an arrangement whereby trainee solicitors at the council undertake a period of work at Trowers and Hamlins LLP, at no cost to the council. 
  3. It was acknowledged that delays had occurred. This was primarily because  ...  view the full minutes text for item 1092.

1093.

DATES OF FUTURE MEETINGS

Minutes:

NOTED the dates of future meetings as follows:

Call-In Meeting

Wednesday 1 May 2019.

 

Councillor Levy thanked everyone for attending the meeting.