6 July 2011

More PAP - the Plan - Actions & Tasks.

So now we get to the meat course, its a bit old and tough, and may well have been served to you last year but now it's covered in flannel sauce you won't know this.

Actions to Implement Recommendations - AIR ( caution - may be hot )
or the Plan as Mr Mustard prefers to call it. Mr Mustard has added his comments in red as usual.

1.   Contract Procedure rules should be followed by all services to procure works, supplies & services. Of course they should. Non compliance should be gross misconduct at manager level.

A SAP solution should be explored by Corporate Procurement team to enter vendor limits in accordance with the contract procedure thresholds. £20+ million spent on SAP already and it doesn't do the basics. What a waste.

2.   Formal written contracts should be established for all services commissioned by the Council as required by the Contract Procedure Rules. Another statement of the bleeding obvious.

3.   All directors should maintain a complete register of contracts as required by the current Contract Procedure Rules (CPR). This should assist with the completion of a Corporate contract register, which should be placed on the Council's internet to meet the transparency agenda. Should ? should ? Mr Mustard has an attack of the shudders. The word you want is MUST. Do LBB mean internet or Intranet ?

Corporate Procurment should undertake an oversight function to ensure that contracts are in place where expenditure in Services exceeds the stipulated CPR thresholds. Complete and accurate Directorate contract registers should enable this monitoring to take place. Call an ambulance. Mr Mustard has had another attack of the shudders. Remember LBB; repeat after Mr Mustard - Must, Must, Must

4.   A fit for purpose contract service specification should be developed for tender evaluation purposes and monitoring service delivery. Because we haven't had one up until now.

5.   The Corporate Procurement Team should establish a process for identifying and monitoring expenditure by category by service across the Council to ensure that current levels do not exceed Contract Procedure Rule limits. Ban the word "Should" from LBB.

6.   Independent checks of amendments to key Vendor Master Data records, such as bank data, should be undertaken routinely for an appropriate number of records. Nurse, my medicine, quickly nurse. No amendment is to be made ( Mr Mustard wanted to use the word "should" instead of "is to" but he just can't ) to any data without an audit trail of documentation to justify it.

Checks should ensure that appropriate checks are made to confirm details and validity of the requested changes from related parties. Who will check that the checks have been checked ? No-one as it's only a "should" not an absolute necessity.

Management should retain all supporting data for vendor set-up and amendment checks. In particular, necessary records to confirm the checks undertaken for amendments for key data fields, such as Bank details, should be retained. Someone SHOULD stop OneBarnet but will they ? Was that also worked out on the back of an envelope that no-one can find any longer like these vendor changes ?

7.   There should be review carried out to calculate the exact figure the Council has overpaid VAT on this vendor, and immediately contact HMRC. Who will bend over and get their bottom kicked for this one ? Oh, the Council Tax Payer, how silly of Mr Mustard to forget.

Officers should, as standard, refer all name changes on supplier's invoices to the Central Procurement Team who should obtain the advice of the VAT officer for confirming compliance with the VAT regulations before a change can be processed. MetPro this, MetPro that. What about compliance with the Contract as well ? Who is the supplier meant to be or have they substituted a new supplier on the sly ?

Training provided to officers should focus on the implications of name changes on supplier's invoices and how those should be addressed for the purposes of compliance with the HMRC'S VAT requirements. Training course. How to tie your shoelaces.

8.   Contract extensions should be undertaken in line with CPR requirements. Of course, again.

Changes to conditions of service should be formally documented for referral by all parties who may be required to certify delivery and payment. Ooh, "may" this time not "should". Still very vague.

9. Standard practice should be re-enforced (sic) through‐out the Council, specifically:

Changes to contract terms should be formally approved and documented for referral by those
involved in certifying delivery per invoice.So they know what they are signing; how radical.

Invoices should be initialed as evidence of confirmation of service delivery in line with current
terms and calculation check. Initialed, how sophisticated. Is there a register of initials, can a temp or a contractor or an interim initial ?
Supporting documentation should be provided to evidence service delivery. Wow.Rather than those people who cannot help.
Purchase orders should be approved and before delivery of the service to ensure that
expenditure is valid and in line with agreed terms. Before delivery; now that's novel.

10.   Directors/Heads of Service must ensure that systems are in place to manage and
monitor contracts. That's what your six figure salaries are for. 

Now let's take a look at the tasks that are related to the actions. Basically tasks are the to do list. Mr Mustard will use the same numbering as above. 


1. Write to all Directors, ADs, and Heads of Service reiterating requirement for compliance with Contract Procedure Rules, enclosing this action plan. Bolt stable door. Go look for horse.
Arrange training programme with mandatory attendance for all relevant officers. Target date 31 July 2011. as we have to write the training course first.
Amend SAP and associated systems to control and monitor spend in line with CPRs. Spend another shed-load of money on software that is too powerful for us to understand.

2.   Put in place contracts for all current spend for all vendors where spend exceeds £25k and no contract currently in place. There are lots of suppliers who do not have Contracts.
Institute key control whereby new vendor records cannot be set up without confirmation of CPR compliance. Let's now do what we should have done in the first place, at least for a while until the heat dies down.

Directors/ADs to submit service scheme of delegation and contracts register to AD Commercial Assurance. If we delegate this and it goes wrong we can sack someone & save our necks.
Directors/ADs to compile and hold audit trail for all entries on contract register. That would be the Contracts themselves wouldn't it ?
Validate completeness of contract registers by crosschecking 2010/11 and 2011/12 to other data sources. Why didn't we think of this before? Maybe against the list of payments made by the Council over £500.
Compile corporate contract register from service contract registers as amended. Another foundation stone that was lacking now being shoehorned into place.
Notify all vendors £25k plus with no contract that service will be market‐tested in accordance with CPRs. Lots of cushy supplier arrangements about to bite the dust.
Forward all contract documents to Head of Legal to be held in corporate repository. Legal department surely haven't been letting any old Officer sign legally binding agreements have they ?
Publish corporate contracts register. Target date 30/9/11. Mr Mustard has set his alarm to ask for a copy of this on the target date if it isn't up on the website by then.
Establish, document and monitor updating arrangements. Because we haven't got any at the moment.

4. Complete tendering of corporate security contract in line with CPRs. The loose thread that caused Procurement's comfy old cardigan to come apart when Barnet's Bloggers started pulling on it.

5.  Establish monitoring of corporate vendor limits in SAP. Is it called Sap as that's what it slowly does to one's bank account ?

6.  Review, amend as necessary, and monitor procedures for amending vendor master data. Mr Mustard misread this. He thought that this was to review all vendors ( suplliers ). It is only to review the procedure for amending vendor data. Big deal.

7. Resolve Metpro VAT issue in conjunction with HMRC. "Issues" - what a mealy mouthed word. It is a problem not an issue.
Procedures for establishing and amending vendor master data to cover VAT status. Because it never did before.
Include VAT issues in mandatory training. We have until 31 July 2011 to cobble a training course together.

8.  Directors/ADs to amend contract registers in respect of all extensions and variations, forwarding amended contract documents to Head of Legal and Head of Procurement. Well it would be pointless to have an out of date contract register.

Directors/ADs to hold audit trail for all extensions and variations. Then next time there is a huge cock-up the blame can be laid at the correct door.

9.  Purchase orders to be raised against all formal contracts A no-brainer.
Directors/ADs to hold evidence of service delivery and record on SAP against purchase order. What, we are going to pay someone £130,000 p.a. to match goods received notes to purchase orders. Mr Mustard doesn't think that sounds sensible.
Invoices to be paid against goods‐receipted purchase orders only. Another no-brainer although doubtless not the custom of the past.

10.  All contracts to be monitored, with arrangements documented in service schemes of delegation. Mr Mustard has no idea what this means. He will have to send in a Freedom of Information request to find out.
Directors to report compliance with scheme of delegation through monthly performance monitoring process. How many months before this falls by the wayside? Place your bets.

Mr Mustard apologises for the length of this blog caused by the tedious bureaucratic modus operandi of Barnet Council.

If you can take the excitement there is one final blog to come which will list the measure of success that Barnet Council are going to use and make some final general observations on the PAP.

Yours frugally
Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. The meat course is made much more palatable by the addition of mustard ... what an unbelievable state of affairs. In any properly run authority, all these proposals would be in place as a matter of course. The fact that they are not in Barnet ought to be a cause of shame for senior officers, and alarm for councillors. An utter disgrace.


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