Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

ARMSTRONG DEMANDS TORRIDGE RE-TENDERS

  • Comment
A Devon district council has become the first authority to be ordered to re-tender a contract by local government m...
A Devon district council has become the first authority to be ordered to re-tender a contract by local government minister Hilary Armstrong.

Torridge DC awarded the five-year grounds maintenance contract to its DSO in November 1995, but attracted the attention of the old Department of the Environment in January 1996 because the£70,000 DSO bid was£25,000 higher than the lowest private sector bid, from Wyvale Landscapes.

In a move which shows the government's determination to adhere to existing CCT rules, Ms Armstrong has now told Torridge to put the contract back out to competition. The in-house team will not be excluded from tendering, but will need the minister's approval before starting on any new contract.

Torridge chief executive Richard Brasington defended awarding the contract in-house and claimed Ms Armstrong's decision would cause further confusion among local authorities awarding contracts in the interim period before the introduction of best value.

Mr Brasington said: 'The lowest bid may have been£25,000 lower than the DSO's, but every other private contractor bid was higher than the DSO's. The lowest tender was too low to be credible, and we believed the contractor in question would fail very significantly to carry out the work to the required standard.'

Mr Brasington said the council responded to the DoE's original concerns promptly, but did not hear anything in response for 18 months. He said Ms Armstrong's officials contacted the authority three months ago.

Mr Brasington added: 'We're expected to be efficient, surely a decision like this should have been taken in February 1996, not October 1997. If we take the year we are allowed to complete re-tendering, the current contract will have been in place for three years.'

A Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions spokesman said: 'The minister has already announced there will be no moratorium from CCT in England. The minister wants an orderly transition from CCT to best value, but there can be no vacuum between the two regimes.'

Wyvale Landscapes failed to respond to a request for comment.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.