Kent County Council Commercial Services Group is a company you’ve probably never heard of. It is one of the largest, local authority owned, trading organisations of its kind in the UK. However it has let nearly £2.2bn pounds worth of contracts before they were awarded, according to publicly available data.
This is same KCC wholly owned company which suffered a ransomware attack in April 2020, which we wrote about in May 2020 and followed up with a second article in June 2020
The company began over 90 years ago as the supplies division of Kent County Council, it has grown organically to become one of the leading suppliers of products and services to the education and public sector, serving over 15,000 customers in 85+ countries.
According to the data published by this KCC company on the Kent Business Portal, £2,173,650,000 worth of contracts started before they were awarded.
The data downloaded on Friday 28 April, showed there were 48 contracts on the KCC Commercial Services Contract Register. Of these 48 contracts, 14 began before they were awarded; which is equal to 29.16% of all the contracts.
The estimated value of all 48 contracts is £13,082,197,250, (£13bn). The value of all contracts which started before they were awarded is £2,173,650,000, which is 16.62% of the overall estimated value of all contracts.
The worst case was allowing a contract to start 2 years and six months before it was awarded. Another was started a year prior to it being awarded, and another 9 months before it was awarded. This is just three out of 14 contracts, started before they were awarded.
The largest contract was for £750m, which started 153 days before it was awarded. The second largest contract was for £500m; which started 121 days before it was awarded. And the third largest contract started before it was awarded had a value of £400m.
And if that wasn’t enough, KCC fail to publish its purchase order data. It’s been a requirement for them to publish this data set since 31/10/2014. The requirement to publish this data is set out at Paragraph 32 of the Transparency Code 2015; which states: