Some things never change, that’s just the way it is

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.

Lychgate at St. Martin’s Church Contract details

Water Mains Hythe Pool Contract details

Bandstand the Leas Contract details

Park St Lydd Toilets Contract details

Wear Bay Rd Toilets Contract details

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 

The Report Number AuG/22/22 – Subject: The Audit Findings for Folkestone & Hythe District Council and FHDC Audit findings report 21/22

Quarterly Internal Audit Update Report from the Head of East Kent Audit Partnership

Governance Update

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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5 Comments on Some things never change, that’s just the way it is

  1. Not a matter to laugh about, such issues would invariably find people in a normal business situation fired. FHDC is an instrument of HM Government yet appearing to act as a loose cannon; officers representative of government departments in any shape or form are subject to regulations, procedures and performance suitable for the state. Persons elected or employed are expected to be of integrity, standard and professionalism fitting their duties.
    Did their signatures not appear in compliance?
    The general appearance is a shody, questionable performance, at best.
    The moth holes in performance taint the reputation of those attempting to work diligently in council, and ourselves, the public.
    Why should the public be expected to vote, at all, with such issues remaining unchanged?
    Abstention, withholding the vote, is a growing local public action, check the vote statistics, not the massaged political party data.
    Confidence and support of FHDC to act as a reliable public representative continues to flounder, daily.

  2. It’s clear they are undervaluing the contracts so as to circumnavigate the contract standing orders. It’s a simple work around used by many councils

  3. This just goes to show that the rot does indeed start at the top – those officers who jumped ship / were pushed last year were probably acting on the same orders as the ones above. When oh when will the opposition party elected Members sit up and take notice?

  4. Councillors using there free permits when not doing Councillor work

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