You’re my Mate

You’re my mate and I will stand by you” sang Right Said Fred, on their single released on the 6 August 2001, and no doubt Folkestone & Hythe District Council will stand by Mr David Illsley (pictured).

David Illsley was a former Economic Development Officer, between Nov 1989 – Sep 2020, at Folkestone & Hythe District Council.

In the same month – Sept 2020, Mr Illsley left the Council and set himself up as a self-employed Economic Development Consultant

On the 1 Oct 2020, Mr Illsley began a contract with Folkestone & Hythe District Council to provide “Consultancy Support for the Romney Marsh Partnership”. The awarded value of the contract was £13,125.00. The contract was initially for six months, with an option to extend for a further three months. The contract makes it clear the extension was taken.

However, when one looks at any of the tendering sites for the contract won by Mr Illsley, one does not see the contract appear anywhere. In fact, if one looks at the Oportunities on the Kent Business Portal, one cannot find any evidence the contract won by Mr Illsley, went out to tender between 1 Jan 2020 and the 31 Dec 2020.

The Council’s constitution Part 10 – Financial Procedure Rules Contract Standing Orders and Auditing the Council states at 7.2

There is a general presumption in favour of competition. Wherever possible contract opportunities should be advertised by way of a public notice via the Council’s e-tendering portal.

It goes on to state that any tender above £10,000 needs:

At least three written quotes in advance

And it says:

All tendering procedures (including obtaining quotes), from planning to contract award and signature, shall be undertaken in a manner so as to ensure:

a) Sufficient time is given to plan and run the process;
b) Equal opportunity and equal treatment;
c) Openness and transparency;
d) Probity (moral correctness);
e) Outcomes that deliver sustainability, efficiency and cost savings (where

Mr Illsley since then went on to win a further two contracts with Folkestone & Hythe District Council, both contract were below £5,000 so do not need to go on the contracts register. Mr Illsley did not get an extension on the second contract ; which was awarded 7 Jan 2021; started on 11 Jan 2021 and; ended on 31 March 2021. The estimated total value of the contract was £4,025

The third contract was awarded 26 Jan 2022; started on 27 Jan 2022 and; ended on 30 June 2022. There were an option to extend by 3 months and this option was taken. The value of the contract for the thirst three months, without the extension was £4,000.

The Contract Standing Orders allows for at least one written quote in advance, for contracts under £10,000. Anything above £10,000, but below £99,999, needs at least three written quotes in advance. So as the first contract was above £10,000, three tenders would be needed one might think. But think again as in Part 10 it allows for contracts in excess of £9,999 to be waived. This though must be done by a responsible officer (officer allowed to sanction spending of money) who seeks a waiver of Contract Standing Orders, shall do so only in advance and only in exceptional circumstances.

So given all that, when one looks for Mr Illsley in the Council’s payment to suppliers data, according to the Council’s data there are only two payments made to him between 1 Jan 2020 and 31 Dec 2022. This means in excess of £20,000 paid out to Mr Illsey, does not appear on the Council’s published payment to suppliers data. Another “irregularity“.

And he appears only once on the Council’s published purchase order data between, Apr 2016 and Dec 2022. There should off course, be more. Another “irregularity

So did Mr Illsey, tender for the first contract while working for the Council, as he left during Sept 2020, and began working as an external contractor for the Council less than 30 days later?

Was sufficient time given to plan and run the tender process?

Was probity (moral correctness) followed?

And given that two out the three contracts were extended, where are the payments in the payment data.

And finally, who sanctioned the contracts, and the who forgot to put Mr Illsey in the payment data?

Mr Illsey is the Council’s mate, as he worked there for 30 years and 11 months. Was the awarding of these contracts influenced by his previous employment at Folkestone & Hythe District Counci?

We’ll leave you to ponder that.

The inclusion of a person or entity in this blogpost is not intended to suggest or imply that they have engaged in illegal or improper conduct.

The Shepway Vox Team

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4 Comments on You’re my Mate

  1. Monk up to his old tricks …. Looking after his mates

  2. With the current level of irregularities, will there be a police investigation?

  3. Council Employee // February 14, 2023 at 08:09 // Reply

    Ha, ha! This is a long standing joke inside the building. Officers leaving only to miraculously re-appear as a “consultant” on better money and less hours. Those of us who remain, do wonder how they get the contracts.

    Keep up the good work

  4. What’s the difference between a Sainsbury’s pork joint and FHDC appreciated executive function? The pork joint has 80% useless fat content, the rest, as they say, you might decide for yourself?

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