So whilst staggering around the Barnet Council website Mr Mustard came across the Code of Practice for Procurement which was most recently modified on 16 March 2006. This has to be read in conjunction with the Contract Procedure Rules ( April 2010 ) and A Guide for Suppliers/Contractors and Service Providers as to How to do Business with the Council.
There are some absolute gems in the Code of Practice for Procurement and Mr Mustard is sure that you will want to share in the joke. The whole 24 pages are in the list of pages to the right of the blog.
1.1 Everyone in the Council is affected by the Contract Procedure Rules and Code of Practice.
1.2 Directors and Heads of Service are responsible for ensuring that their staff conform to the Contract Procedure Rules.
So every Director or Head of Service who used MetPro should now be on a disciplinary for failure to supervise.
1.3 All officers who commission contracts for goods, works or services are required to use the Contract Procedure Rules and Procurement Code of Practice and to adhere to the principles set out within it. This requirement also covers all persons who commission contracts on behalf of the Council, such as external consultants.
4.2 There are two cases in which there may be uncertainty over where responsibility lies:
4.2.1 If the contract is a corporate contract which serves many or all Service Areas within the Council; or
4.2.2 there is involvement of another Service Area(s).
126.96.36.199 Corporate contracts: The Strategic Procurement Team is responsible for tendering and letting corporate contracts. Examples of such contracts are contracts for stationary, Corporate Clothing and Utilities. Whilst we will consult and liaise with Service Areas on such contracts, we will manage the procurement process and be responsible and accountable for the performance of the contract. I think they mean Stationery with an e, or, Security.
188.8.131.52 Contracts involving more than one Service Area: Where there are two or more Service Areas involved in the letting of a contract, there must always be a lead Service and this Service Area will have responsibility for the effective tendering, letting and monitoring of the contract. Examples of such contracts are grounds maintenance and catering, which are contracts which cut across more than one Service Area with the responsibility for the contract resting with one Service Area, in this case Environment. or Security
184.108.40.206 In the case of several Service Areas being involved in the letting of a single contract, the Strategic Procurement Team may become involved in the management of the procurement process. We would give advice about who the lead Service should be, and could project manage the process. If we were not directly involved in such a procurement process we would always be available to give advice and guidance.
So the MetPro type situation had been thought of in advance and so all that rubbish that non-stick Nick Walkley fed to the Audit committee about devolution being the problem is not the case. There were clear purchasing rules which were in place from about the time that MetPro started.
4.4 However, as part of this approach, it is important that there is a clear audit trail in place in all Service Areas. Your decisions on tendering and contract letting must be as clear and transparent as possible, and they must be clearly documented and auditable.
Except for Security
4.5 There are two elements to the audit trail:
4.5.1 a contract database which tracks all contracts over £25,000 in value. All Heads of Service are now required to keep a register of contracts in their services of £25,000 or more. The Strategic Procurement Team has developed a contract database for this purpose. The Service Area Procurement Officers (SAPOs) are responsible for maintaining and updating the contract database; and
4.5.2 a Gateway Review Process which provides additional structure to contracts over £144,371. Gateway Review Forms must be completed for all purchases over £144,371 in value and can be found at Appendices 3 - 7.
These didn't exist in the case of MetPro and how many others ?
5.5 All contractors tendering for supplies or services valued at £144,371 or more or works valued at more than £500,000 are subject to enquiries as to their financial status as detailed in section 0.
Much less work to just skip this stage.
6.44 If the cost of a contract is expected to exceed £150,000 or more for supplies or services or £500,000 for works then contractors must be subject to a financial evaluation as part of the selection process.
6.45 This evaluation should be undertaken by:
6.45.1 The contract owner if the contract is valued at less than £1 million;
6.45.2 The Chief Finance Officer if the contract is valued at £1 million or more. The Chief Finance Officer will complete this financial evaluation in a period not exceeding two weeks.
Mr Mustard feels an FOI request coming on to find out who many of these evaluations have been done recently.
There can be all the rules that you like but they are pointless if ignored.