6 July 2011

Procurement Action Plan ; PAP for short. ( part 1 )

Following the statement by the Chief Financial Officer in his weekly message of 10 June that he had seen the Audit Report and would tell us the following week what the rectification Plan was,

and after the bloodbath that was the Audit Committee meeting of 16 June when non-stick Nick Walkley promised action,

Mr Mustard waited with bated breath to see this masterpiece, this highly original work of art, unveiled. 

A week is a long time in politics and so it proved to be for this Plan as :-

version 0.1 was created by C J Cooper on 7/6/11 ( I presume that C J Cooper is Craig Cooper the well overpaid Director of/for Commercial Services £132,480 p.a. )
version 0.3 was revised by C J Cooper on 9/6/11 
version 0.4 was revised by A Traversty himself on 13/6/11, and finally
version 1.0 was produced on 14/6/11.

Mr Mustard doesn't know what happened to version 0.2 either. He hasn't quite got over there being 4 versions of a Plan that is mostly just a rehash of the Contract Procedure Rules.

Its long and boring and Mr Mustard is underwhelmed to find that this long awaited Plan is just a tired old reproduction and not an original work of art at all. There might have been a little light touching up here and there but it is not going to have people queueing up to buy tickets.

Let me start with the Objectives - i.e. what LBB are trying to achieve, which have been called "Issues" - don't you find dear reader that Issues is one of those words that stands in for something else. It is a classic piece of Barnet OneSpeak. In Barnet PlainSpeak it is "balls-ups"

Then there is a list of risks which unusually are just what they say they are.

It's late so this blog post will arrive in at least 2 parts. If you can take the excitement there will be a later post about "Overarching actions".

So this is just the starter from the Plan. The main course will arrive tomorrow. You will probably still be hungry afterwards as it is very light fare.

Objective Mr Mustard says
Procurement Controls and Monitoring Regime Objectives Since when did the word Purchasing stop being used.
Issue Problem
An effective procurement function is pivotal in the successful delivery of the One Barnet Programme. We won't mention non OneBarnet purchasing as no-one gives a fig about it.
A detailed vendor review and savings opportunity assessment was undertaken this highlighted areas for improvement in how the Council commissions & procures goods & services Once the bloggers had put the fox in the henhouse we were forced to do some work.
Internal Audit have identified a number of necessary control and monitoring issues across LBB Internal Audit had their easiest Audit ever. Procurement were caught with their pants down.
The council could be exposed to unnecessary risk, financial loss and likelihood of challenge arising from non compliant tendering activity. At some point we are going to take a kicking for not tendering properly.
There is a risk that the Council may not receive the service required or will be unable to recover damages for works not carried out or for breach in the event of the dispute if terms are not formally agreed and clearly defined contracts are not in place As we don't know what service we have purchased we will not of course receive it. We are up the creek without a paddle.
There is a risk that failures to comply with CPR may not be identified, that the Council may not be able to work collaboratively with other local authorities on procurement initiatives and ineffective budget planning. There isn't a rush of local authorities heading Barnet's way to share in their lack of success.
The lack of comprehensive contract specification increases the risk of ineffective contract management as responsible officers may not be aware of all relevant monitoring requirements e.g. licences. What, you mean that security guards have to have SIA licences, since when ? What does SIA stand for anyway ?
In the absence of an effective monitoring and analysis process there is a risk of non compliance with the Council's procurement policies which may then prevent the Council from achieving value for money. Non compliance has been the norm for some years; since before bloggers existed.
The lack of contract monitoring arrangements generally increases the risk that failures in service delivery may not be identified, that service delivery may not be optimised and failures in regulatory compliance which may expose the council to financial and reputational risk may not be identified Barnet Council's reputation is in tatters and only abandoning OneBarnet and becoming boring and sensible will save them now.

Sorry, more of this rubbish tomorrow

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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