Comment posted School Meals saga: Council distorts facts and blocks Martha’s blog by Integrity? Not in the CondemAll.
As a further comment A&B’s own procurement manual (last updated 2011)states that
‘the objectives in carrying out significant procurement exercises for the Council should reflect the overall goals and objectives of the Council. Individual goals and objectives should be set with reference to the balanced scorecard.
There are four elements to the balanced scorecard.
2. Internal Process
4. Enhanced Service Delivery
This is followed by a definition of the four elements – sustainability is the most pertinent one to this discussion. It states that
Sustainability can come in a number of guises;
• Environmental improvements can be made from purchasing more efficient equipment in terms of energy consumptions (if quantifiable this may also be a price saving), or from switching to recycled goods, or from reducing delivery frequency or haulage distances.
• Social benefits can be obtained if the method of service delivery proposed under the new contract delivers consequent benefits to the local communities (where this is not the primary aim of the contract). Wider social benefits are gained from the use of fairly traded goods.
• Economic benefits can be obtained where the nature of the contract will deliver wider economic benefits within the Council area, either through the use of community benefit clauses, or from the nature of the service delivery planned.
Also important is the definition of Enhanced Service Delivery which it is stated is is obtained where the nature of the contract is such that it provides a better outcome than that achieved to date, on the primary aim of the contract.
So the Council’s own agreed procedures give them clear grounds to support local business and providers even if they don’t necessarily offer the most price competitive product. That isn’t to say I would fully advocate paying massive premiums just to support local business, there clearly has to be a sensible balance.
Integrity? Not in the CondemAll also commented
- Interestingly the only reference to use of national contracts in the Council’s Procurement Manual is in relation to the purchase of paper & stationery and the leasing of office equipment.
It also references national Category A commodities which are those goods or services that are standard or of a similar nature across the largely common requirements of the Scottish public sector. It states that ‘Currently in scope Category A areas include IT hardware and software, office equipment, utilities, professional services and telecoms among others.’
The bottom line is that it makes no specific reference whatsoever to national contracts for food/school meals etc. You would have thought with the quantity of food bought that if such a contract existed then there would be reference to it however if anyone can confirm whether there is one then that would be appreciated.
My guess is there isn’t one.
As an aside there is also a section on procurement of contractors which states‘
‘Always have a clear specification of the work to be carried out ‘
Which brings me back to the question of whether the clear specification for Kier Bloomer included the informal, formal or both periods of consultation!
- Is it not the case that local authorities are only encouraged to sign up to national contracts – they are not forced to?
I am not saying it is a bad idea full stop – there and pros and cons to it. I am just saying that claims that the Council have no option due to national contracts appears to be a misleading argument.
- Check the facts and you will notice that even the Scottish Government’s Procurement Policy handbook (which all public sector organisations need to comply with)references Regulation 30 of The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2006 which makies clear that the overarching aim of public sector procurement activity in Scotland must be the achievement of value
for money for the taxpayer with VFM defined as the optimum combination of whole-life cost and quality (or fitness for purpose).
The 2006 Regulations 2006 sets out two methods for evaluating tenders. Contracting authorities can award contracts on the basis of the most economically advantageous
tender or the lowest price.
It specifically mentions that in determining the criteria for the award of contracts, purchasers should rarely rely on price alone. This is because awarding contracts on the basis of the most economically advantageous tender allows purchasers to balance the quality of the goods, services and works they are
procuring against price and to frame specifications in a way which encourages innovation rather than defining the solution.
Appropriate investment appraisal techniques should be used in assessing which
compliant bid offers best value for money.
As part of value for money, due regard to other relevant organisational policies is important, for example, policies in relation to corporate social responsibility /sustainability.
The latter part leaving the door well and truly open to flexibility in procurement decisions if they can be justified on the grounds of supporting some other council policy.
This stype of approach is common where a Council leases a property to a business for below market rates in order to try and encourage enterprise. If they can apply that logic in that situation then they can apply it elsewhere.
- Some of the comments on here about Martha and her parents are pretty appalling and also lacking in sense. If her parents were doing this to be attention seekers why would they have exposed it via a 9 year old’s internet blog – as a story it was a gimme for the national papers (as proven by the reaction when the blog, which received no attention at first, for some unknown reason, went viral) and surely attention seeking parents would have gone straight to them.
There is no hard evidence that the parents were out to make a name for themselves but there is hard evidence that food available to these kids (irrespective of whether it was a choice) was inappropriate and inadequate – yet there are people more eager to blame the parents and a 9 year old than asking questions of the Council (including the Council themselves).
They also criticise the parents for the way they dealt with the situation but seem quite happy with the way the Council dealt with it. I find that staggering. The Council got a Head of Service and ran to the national radio to publicly have a go at a 9 year old child and then strongly suggest that her parents are failing her (unlike the Head of Service who took the opportunity to promote his own parenting skills). It was amateur hour on the part of the Council which epitomises an attitude to the public, and a reaction to them, which many people have become accustomed to from this corporate management team.
Give A&B a chance? They need to earn that right and are failing miserably to do so. Just to be clear I aim that firmly at those running the show from the top branches. Like most of us I know many people working in the lower echelons of the Council who are dedicated and work conscientiously with their integrity firmly intact. This cannot be said of those who call the shots and, far too often, are happy to allow or create the perception that the fault lies elsewhere.
- Is it not the case that local authorities do not have their hands entirely tied by procurement legislation? Thay have a degree of flexibility to accept higher priced tenders if they can justify it on other relevant factors (i.e. local economy development would be an obvious one)
It is a myth banded about by local authorities when trying to push through service cuts that best value demands it of them. The concept of best value extends well beyond just issues of price.
Recent comments by Integrity? Not in the CondemAll
- Michael Russell’s message to Argyll
It is true that the politician with the GO button takes the bulk of the responsibility. On that theme I was discussing the banking collapse with a good friend the other day. He is a long standing SNP member of many decades. He did quietly acknowledge that Alex Salmond favoured relaxed regulations just us much, if not even more than, Gordon Brown however he made that same point, ultimately Brown oversaw it therefore carries the can. Too often politicians view on this flip flops depending on which way the fingers are pointing.
- Michael Russell’s message to Argyll
I don’t think so. Mike Russell was Education Secretary when it was implemented however it is was actually developed before he was appointed (in fact it has been in development for 3 or 4 years before he was appointed).
So you are right that criticism, or credit, for the CfE shouldn’t be entirely placed at Mike Russell’s door.
If I recall (and please do correct me if I am wrong) it largely got cross party support. There were some criticisms by Labour and the Lib Dems about the level of funding being invested in it and maybe the process of implementation but none of them were opposed to it as a concept.
- With her government team completed, how will Nicola Sturgeon’s set do the job?
The reshuffle was absolutely necessary and would have happened even if Salmond hadn’t stepped down.
Neill and McAskill have had poor 18 months and Russell has been sidelined by his own party throughout the independence referendum.
A new leader will always want to make changes and set their own tone and direction. Maybe a little unfortunate that the ministers in charge of three major areas have had a period of relatively poor performance as changing all three at once is quite substantial.
However the new postholders deserve an opportunity to prove themselves, or otherwise, before being judged. For Scotland’s sake I hope they do well. Within reason I don’t care what party is in power as long as they deliver sound policy and properly represent the whole country.
- Totty rocks as new FM elected at Holyrood
Fair enough Jnrtick. I of course acknowledge that the lyrics taken in isolation are racist. What I mean is I think the context they are sung in means they are not meant as a racist jibe but as the sort of football rivalry banter that has gone on for decades.
I am no tolerated of racism, very far from it. I just think we should be careful about mixing up genuine hate/intolerance with something far less serious.
Football has not had to seek out its troubles over the years and I think it, largely, has done a good job cleaning up its act. However I wouldn’t want to over sanitize it.
- Totty rocks as new FM elected at Holyrood
I am not clear if you were at the game or are basing this on what you heard on the tele. If it is based on what you heard on the tele then I think there needs to be a strong health warning over any claim that it was only English fans who were singing songs that could be classed as bile. What you hear on the tele when watching football games is entirely down to where the camera crews and microphones are located in the stadium.
You surely don’t for one second, believe that a few thousand England fans outsung 60,000 Scotland fans do you?
In reply to your other comment on this thread I think the reason it wasn’t reported in the papers is because it is a son that has been sung up and down the country by football fans for years. Some time using the word ‘Scottish Bastard’, just as often using the words ‘English Bastard’
It has never really been considered a racist chant regardless of whether it has been sung by English or Scottish fans and I suspect if we hadn’t just been through the referendum the singing of it on Tuesday wouldn’t have raised any eyebrows.
Whilst I acknowledge it is a somewhat coarse song (most football songs are!) I see it as football banter and not racism. I don’t think Scotland fans are racist when they sing it, nor do I think England fans are when they sing it.
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