To receive the Part 2 report
Peter George, Programme Director- Meridian Water introduced the report which had come to OSC as part of the pre-decision scrutiny process. The following was noted:
(i) A procurement of this nature is an unusual undertaking for the Council. Given the high value and complexity Peter advised that he was keen to bring this report to the Overview & Scrutiny Committee as early as possible to seek guidance and scrutiny. The Council are also asking the GLA and Government Advisors to undertake a similar review to test the robustness of this procurement.
(ii) In early December 2018 the GLA submitted, on behalf of Enfield Council, a funding application to Central Government for a total of £156m to build strategic infrastructure in Meridian Water. Confirmation on whether Enfield Council/GLA have successfully secured the HIF funding is expected in summer 2019, although when the announcement will be made is not certain.
(iii) In order to ensure timely delivery of works ahead of the future deadline, the Council adopted an accelerated programme of design and procurement and is seeking approval to procure a main contractor ahead of finalising the HIF funding agreement.
(iv) At its meeting on 25th July 2018, Cabinet delegated to the Programme Director of Meridian Water (in consultation with the Director of Law and Governance) the decision to authorise the contractor procurement procedure for HIF delivery works to comprise enabling works, utility provisions, flood alleviation works to deliver the Central Spine road as well as remediation and earthworks at the central area of the development for early delivery of homes.
(v) Following a detailed Options Appraisal, a Competitive Dialogue Process leading to a multiple supplier framework agreement has been identified as the preferred procurement route for the strategic road and flood alleviation works. This process best addresses the key issues that are related to the nature and complexity of the project which is the subject of this report.
(vi) It is recommended that the Programme Director-Meridian Water in Consultation with the Director of Law & Governance approves the commencement and undertaking of the procurement of a main contractor for the scope of works identified in the main body of this report, subject to sign off, of the procurement documents by the Director of Law and Governance and the Director of Finance. It was noted that a separate report seeking approval to award the contract to the successful tenderer will be taken to Cabinet.
Following Peter’s introduction discussions took place and the following questions/issues were raised:
· Members raised their concerns that the Part 2 To Follow Paper had been tabled at the meeting, therefore not allowing them the opportunity to consider the information provided. Members requested that all future reports/papers be circulated well in advance of the meeting to allow sufficient time to read and digest all the relevant information. Peter George explained the reasons for this delay and fully accepted criticism for this. He apologised for the frustration this delay had caused and assured the committee that all future papers would be circulated at the earliest opportunity.
· Should the funding be successfully secured, all capital works must be completed before the delivery deadline of March 2023, but central government may agree to extend to March 2024. Enfield Council have requested acknowledgement from central government that the project would require a programme contingency of nine months taking the project completion long stop date to December 2023, which will need to be reflected in the funding agreement.
· Members questioned what would happen if the Council is unsuccessful in its bid or secures a materially lower amount of HIF Funding than requested. Peter explained that if this was to happen the scope and phasing of the works will need to be reviewed. The framework approach doesn’t commit the Council to instructing any works and in the event of no funding or part funding being secured, some works could still be called off under the framework, subject to available LBE budget.
· Questions were raised regarding timelines and Peter advised that in order to ensure timely delivery ahead of the funding deadline a main contractor needs to be appointed on the framework by early 2020. This requires the Council to start the procurement process for the road and alleviation works ahead of finalising the funding agreement.
· Discussions took place regarding the cost and funding and a breakdown and explanation of the figures was provided. Members felt that the report needed to clearly clarify the figures as it was currently somewhat confusing. Peter thanked Members for their feedback and would ensure that the figures were made clearer in the final report.
· In answer to questions regarding management of the project Peter advised that Stace Project Management had been appointed to manage the design, procurement and delivery of the strategic road and flood alleviation works. The Meridian Water Team will carry out a review of the project management arrangement in place with the aim of strengthening the team and ensuring the right capacity and capability is available to manage the delivery of the works.
· The Council has a comprehensive delivery strategy for bringing forward the infrastructure and a robust governance structure is being put in place to provide oversight and direction for the delivery of the works, including how the Council will work with any other key delivery partners.
· Information was provided on Tendered Scope of Works and a diagram and overview of the infrastructure and associated works proposed for the Housing Infrastructure Fund is attached as Appendix 1.2 of the Part 1 report.
· Further discussions took place regarding the procurement process and contract approach. Information was also provided on the multiple supplier framework agreement and why this had been identified as the preferred procurement route for the strategic road and flood alleviation works.
· The multiple supplier framework approach is suitable for the scope of works, given that the funding, the exact design and the land acquisition will not have been confirmed at the point of procurement. The framework approach allows the Council flexibility to instruct specific works and services as and when they are required and doesn’t commit the Council to instructing the individual work packages until a call-off contract has been signed.
· The scope of works includes work located on privately owned land. The Council aims to acquire third party land by private treaty, but it is acknowledged that the Council may be required to use its compulsory purchase powers to acquire the necessary parcels of land. A further report will be brought to Cabinet to authorise the making of a compulsory purchase order required to deliver the HIF works.
Following in-depth discussions, the Overview & Scrutiny Committee made the following recommendations for the final report:
· Report to clearly show/clarify figures;
· Clarification of the HIF date. Is this March 2023 or 2024? This is not clear in the draft report;
· There are inconsistencies in the Part 1 and 2 reports with the terminology and phrasing with regards to what will happen if the HIF funding is not forthcoming. This needs to be clarified and consistent in both reports;
· Report to include a detailed breakdown of costs and financial implications;
· Report to clarify who are the responsible officers and how the project will be managed;
· Financial Modelling to come back to OSC as pre-decision scrutiny;
· ELAA numbers (definition/figures and percentages) to be circulated by email to all Members of OSC as soon as possible;
· The report should include a detailed programme for the procurement process and show clearly what the critical timelines are.
The Chair thanked Officers for their informative report and the committee looked forward to receiving further updates as and when they were available.