The report provides details of the proposed updated Contract Procedure Rules and includes a mapping document to show the changes from the current version to the proposed version.
The Chief Finance Officer presented the report which detailed proposed changes to the Contract Procedure Rules. A further mapping document was circulated at the meeting to align with the numbering of the agenda pack. The content of the mapping document had not been changed only the page numbering.
The Contract Procedure Rules was a key document which had last been updated in January 2020. The document was reviewed regularly and since it had last been updated changes had been made in relation to procurement best practice and updated legislation following the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. Guidance and support had been received from Welland Procurement which had resulted in an amended Contract Procedure Rules document which was consistent with the other six Welland procurement partner authorities. This enabled collaboration and shared working on procurement activities so that activities could be maximised.
Key changes to the document included clarity and transparency around authority level thresholds and the hierarchical sequency depended on the amount of the total contract value and not the annual amount. The authority levels were:
· Up to £50k – Heads of Service or equivalent level (manager)
· £50k up to £100k – Assistant Director, or in the absence of the Assistant Director, then Director
· £100k up to £200k – Director (or any Corporate Management Team officer) in consultation with the relevant Cabinet Member
· £200k and above – Key Decision taken by Cabinet through the Forward Plan mechanism
An example of how this worked was given by the Chief Finance Officer.
The mapping document gave an overview of the changes proposed between the document adopted in January 2020 and what was currently proposed. The changes within the document were mainly in respect of clarification and included greater detail in respect of decision making.
Members raised the following comments:
· Why was the reference to irregular tenderers deleted?
· What assurances were there that secondary procurement processes were in place.
· Rather than procurement being undertaken by each individual service, had a central procurement point been considered in order to increase economies of scale?
· Reference was made to 1.2 in the report and confirmation was sought about having a dedicated procurement resource, was this an extra member of staff who would take responsibility for procurement on behalf of the Council?
The Chief Finance Officer replied that the references to irregular tenderers were covered in more detail at 143.6.1 and the reference was no longer required. He gave assurances in respect of the procurement processes in place and dialogue was taking place in relation to a centralised procurement area.
A procurement lead had been included in the staffing structure that had been approved by Council in Autumn 2020 and this was supported by Welland Procurement partnership.
Members were supportive of the review of the Rules that had taken place and asked if this would happen annually. It was stated that the trigger for this review had been the points raised by Welland Procurement and the exit from the European Union and legislative changes. Any significant changes to the document would be brought forward as required, together with any compliance issues. The document was a “live” document and would be kept under review annually.
It was proposed, seconded and AGREED to recommend the updated Contract Procedure Rules to the Constitution Committee.
The Governance and Audit Committee recommends the updated Contract Procedure Rules to the Constitution Committee.