Public Interest Challenge & Garden Bridge

Public Interest Challenge & Garden Bridge Oversight. Transcribed below is a letter submitted by Project Compass to the GLA Oversight Committee calling upon them to consider better regulatory policing by means of a Public Interest Challenge for framework procurements, in specified circumstances.

“Dear Len Duvall,

Further to the recent GLA Oversight Committee mtg. of 11 October ‘17  where you called for exploration of future procedural improvements in TfL and the authorities procurement, on behalf of Project Compass CIC I am writing enclosing a proposal for your committees consideration and recommendations forward, along with a supplementary informative.

  1. Under the Public Contract Regulations (PCR) 2015 challenge of unprofessional procurement practice is available to those bidding who are defined within strict limitations as ‘economic operators’ and such challenge may only be within a constrained timescale.

For commercial reasons this can be particularly problematic for private firms, especially when they may seek further work from the awarding authority and that authority has a large and/or dominant market position. In effect they are captured. Pragmatically this conflicts commercial firms, and can in the case of the Garden Bridge procurement and other case study evidence we have researched lead to unprofessional procurement outcomes lacking transparency.

We would propose in future, within the standing orders and governance of a TfL or London wide remit, or by the national provision of a Procurement Policy Note (PPN) or in the longer term by reform of PCR 2015, that consideration might be given to the provision of a Public Interest Challenge, when poor procurement practices become publically apparent.

In this way a higher bar of accountability could contribute towards improving transparency and further professionalising practices to provide better, more effective and efficient procurement. This could address those aspects of the apparent conflicts in the existing procurement regulations.

Our thoughts on how the principle of allowing a public interest challenge might be embodied are set out below……(Letter Items 2 & 3 redacted here)

…. I trust the enclose maybe of value in informing best practice forward.

Kind regards

Walter Menteth

PUBLIC INTEREST CHALLENGE PROPOSAL – NOTES:

……..

It is the definition below which largely appear to preclude a ‘Public Interest Challenge’

PCR 2015 Clause 2(1) Definitions:

“economic operator” means any person or public entity or group of such persons and entities, including any temporary association of undertakings, which offers the execution of works or a work, the supply of products or the provision of services on the market;

PCR 2015 Chapter 6:

Clauses 88 (2)

In regulations 89 and 90, “economic operator” has its usual meaning (in accordance with regulation 2(1)), but in the other provisions of this Part “economic operator” has the narrower meaning of an economic operator (as defined by regulation 2(1)) to which a duty is owed in accordance with regulation 89 or 90

Clause descriptions/definitions however might possibly be clarified by means of a Procurement Policy Note, or within the local GLA or TfL remit by governance/standing orders or ordinances are set out below:

Clause 89(2), 91 (1) The definition of ‘an economic operator’

Proposal: ‘an economic operator which, in consequence suffers or risks suffering, loss or damage’ shall mean the public or their representatives.

Clause 92 (4) & (5) Discretionary extension of the time limit for actioning proceedings.

Proposal: The court shall be required to consider the timescale in which the public or their representatives might reasonably have become conscionably aware.

Clause 93 (5) (b) a summary of the relevant reasons

Proposal: ‘relevant reasons’ shall mean reasons that are evidentially substantial and relevant to the notified award criteria assessed in accordance with these regulations.

Clause 94(1)to(5), 98 (2)(c), 99(c), 102 (6)  The definition of ‘any economic operator’

Proposal: The definition shall have the same meaning as that proposed in clause 91(1) (above)

The key principle being to allow the possibility of a public interest challenge!”

 

Passing the buck: The new construction crisis

HUGE PROBLEMS WITH QUALITY IN UK CONSTRUCTION IS APPARENT. ACTION MUST FOLLOW.

(Walter Menteth article originally publish on LinkedIn pulse March 19, 2017)

Over recent months significant construction issues have been reported that highlight major deficiencies in UK procurement culture.

The Orchard Village EstateLakanal House in Southwark, The Edinburgh PFI schools programme, Catalyst Housings Portobello Square developmentSolomon’s Passage in Southwark, and Bovis’s recent £70m pay out to purchasers, are some recently reported examples.

The common thread between each one of these is poor scrutiny, lack of oversight and co-ordination, where responsibilities and the supervision for implementing qualitative judgements had become confused, or worse disdained or ignored. The quality of the construction works has ultimately suffered with disastrous consequences, none of which should have happened.

Continue reading “Passing the buck: The new construction crisis”

Flying by the seat of their pants

 

(Walter Menteth article originally published September 13, 2016 on LinkedIn Pulse)

There have been significant recent revelations about the Thames Garden Bridge in London and the Garden Bridge Trusts structure and funding.

These reveal the Trusts near exclusive reliance on public funding, which reputedly amounts to £30m from Transport for London, £30m from central government, along with the costs and liabilities of indemnifying the project along with the contracts the Trust has entered into.

There have also been revelations about the number of significant and expensive contracts the Trust have now let on their own account, at exceptionally high risk. These have onerous obligations and damaging break clauses. These have been let prior to the project having received full authority and clearance to proceed with construction. Continue reading “Flying by the seat of their pants”