3 January 2012

Decidedly average work ( the mean median muddle! )

Now please pay attention as it is back to school time.

The Famous Five Barnet Bloggers always sit up straight when they hear the word "security" following the MetPro debacle. So the bloggers were very interested at the Cabinet Resources Committee meeting of 14 December 2011 when Item 6 was withdrawn and naturally no explanation was forthcoming on the night.
Award of Contract for Corporate Buildings Security - Barnet Council

Mr Mustard read the report closely. Did others?

The top level officer named on this report is Craig Cooper, the £132,480 p.a. Commercial Director. Oh dear, the report contains a blunder that has not been spotted. That was not due to an unseemly rush now was it? The process of trying to get a security contract in place started in May 2009 and here we are still trying in January 2012.

Mr Mustard notes the annual saving of £146,728 at para 6.3. The council should write to the Famous Five Barnet Bloggers and thank them for all their investigative work which has led to a saving of at least £1,467,280 over the next 10 years. Mr Mustard is worried about the price being fixed for 3 years and this almost certainly means that the security guards will not get any pay rises for the same period of time. Hardly motivational is it?

Now take a look at para 9.5.3 and the prices which Mr Mustard has put into ascending order for you, highlighted the middle entry in bold and shown a total.

price £
689,651
699,732
701,164
702,546
713,145
837,959
845,901
883,218
987,838
7,061,154

Now there are 9 prices which make up the total and so if you divide £7,061,154 by 9 you get £784,572 ( ignore pence ). This is called the "mean".

Look back at the list and the middle value is called the median and is £713,145

Calculating a median - click here

Now look at para 9.5.4 which says that the "median" figure was used and as the figure quoted is the "mean" then we know that it wasn't and thus the scores for price in para 9.5.5 are utterly and hopelessly incorrect and will have to be done again. This is a surprising schoolboy error given that a supposedly common method for scoring tender costs was used. 

It looks like a blogger is about to save you even more money Barnet Council. Do remember to write a thank you note Mr Craig Cooper. Here is an email link for you to use.

In Para 9.4.1 Blue 9 were, at the Pre-qualification stage, the bottom of the 9 companies who returned a tender and yet magically, using similar criteria they managed to leapfrog their 8 competitors and finish up top of the pile. Mr Mustard wonders if someone with inside knowledge helped them to submit their tender?

Para 9.6.1 is an outrage, an unproven assertion; where are the comparative figures? The largest cost in a security contract is staff wages. They could be the same for an in-house bid if one was allowed.

If one of the bidders who lost out has challenged the award, this could be why.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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