And yet more contract irregularities at our Council

And yet again it happens. Three further contracts have been let which are in clear breach of Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s Contract Standing Orders (CSOs).

The two Council departments which have procured these contracts are the Communications Team, and the Finance Team. Have people been suspended like the other four who broke the CSOs? Well no. Is that surprising! Of course not.

Katie Ainscough (pictured) is the Communications and Engagement Lead Specialist at Folkestone & Hythe District Council

It would be the Communications and Engagement Lead Specialist; who is responsible for the procuring of the contract to publish the “Your District Today” magazine. Yet on two occasions the contract was awarded after it started and ended. One of them was awarded one year and one day after it ended; which is quite remarkable.

In the second contract for “Your District Today”, this was awarded one month and one day after the contract had ended, yet the Communications and Engagement Lead Specialist is as we understand still working, and has not been suspended for breaching the CSOs; which demonstrates there is one rule for the four who have been suspended and another for the Communications and Engagement Lead Specialist.

The first contract for the Summer 2021 magazine started on the 7 July 2021, and ended on the 31 July 2021. The contract though was not awarded until 1 Aug 2022, according to the Council’s contract register. That’s one year and one day after the contract ended.

The second contract for the Summer 2022 magazine started on the 30 May 2022, and ended on the 30 June 2022. The contract though was not awarded until 1 Aug 2022, according to the Council’s contract register. This is one month and a day after the contract ended.

We have to ask how it is the Communications and Engagement Lead Specialist is treated differently from Anthony Wallner, Alastair Clifford and the other two persons who have been suspended for breaching the CSOs?

Now let’s remember both the Constitution and the Procurement Guide to the Council’s CSOs state:

It is a disciplinary offence to fail to comply with these Contract Standing Orders and the Council’s Procurement Guide.

So what steps have the Council taken against the Communications and Engagement Lead Specialist, as she’s failed to comply with the CSOs and the Council’s Procurement Guide.

As we understand no disciplinary action has been taken against her to date. All this does is demonstrate hypocrisy on part of the Council, as there is one rule for those suspended, due to breaching the CSOs, and another for the Communications and Engagement Lead Specialist

Moving on, on the 1 Jan 2022 a contract for food vouchers for the Household Support fund began. It ended on the 31 March 2022. The contract was awarded on the 30 May 2022. That’s two months after the contract ended. The council department responsible was the finance department.

The finance team is led by Charlotte Spendley, who is the s151 Officer responsible for the Council’s money. We do not know if it was she who procured the contract, but who ever it was, have they been suspended for not complying with the CSOs? We doubt it. This again would demonstrate there are different rules for different people within the council.

So what can be done?

Well here’s three suggestions

All officers who are in a position to procure contracts could be given lots of training.

The procurement systems within the council be monitored more closely.

The person responsible for Procurement – Andrew Rush – could actively ensure that all procurement is run via him before, during and after the contract has started, ended and been awarded.

This is not rocket science.

These three contracts are not material by financial value with regards to the accounts, but they are material by nature, as they demonstrate a lack of oversight and governance.

And finally, we make it clear the companies who won these contracts have done nothing wrong.

The Shepway Vox Team

Being Voxatious is NOT a Crime

 

About shepwayvox (1571 Articles)
Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

2 Comments on And yet more contract irregularities at our Council

  1. In this WOKE world we now find ourselves in then it’s so easy to suspend white males but god forbid you try and suspend a female or any one of the LGBT brigade .
    That’s why they get away with it and not a dicky bird will be said

  2. Yet another example of gross incompetence and mismanagement. I can only assume that they hold our elected Councillors in open contempt, otherwise they would not engage in such activities.

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