As we begin the new year, it seems old habits die hard.
Folkestone & Hythe District Council have awarded five contracts to Brighter Homes, based in Folkestone, according to the contract register, at 4 Jan 2023.
The awarded value for these contracts was £43,561.04. The earliest date for any of the five contracts to start was 04/07/2021, and the latest date for any of the five contracts to end was 26/08/22.
Yet when one looks at the Council Payment data it is clear Brighter Homes have been paid £102,351 between 1 Jan 2021 and 30 Sept 2022.
As you can see the amount paid is the gross amount including VAT. This means the Council have paid Brighter Homes 134% more than the total awarded value of all five contracts.
Now we make it clear – crystal clear – Brighter Homes have done nothing wrong.
Now for those of you who are not aware, section 135 of the Local Government Act 1972 obliges councils to make standing orders for contracts for the supply of goods and materials and the execution of works entered into by the Council or on behalf of the Council. These are set out in the Council’s constitution at Part 10; which spell out both the Financial Procedure Rules and Contract Standing Orders
All contracts above £5,000 must go on the contract register.
All contracts between £0 – £10,000 need at least one written quote in advance
All contracts between £10,000 up to £100,000 need at least three written quotes in advance, or open competitive process with tenders following advertisement by public notice using the Council’s invitation to tender document.
So given all this, and given all the financial and contract irregularities flagged by the Shepway Vox Team; which lead to these brutal and bruising reports
Despite all the assurances from our Council things would get better, nothing has changed. Given the evidence publicly available the Council’s internal controls around both the procurement and management of contracts needs much more attention, or is it as Bruce Hornsby says –
“Some things will never change, that’s just the way it is.”
We’ll leave you to decide that.
The Shepway Vox Team
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