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Interestingly the only reference to use of national …

Comment posted School Meals saga: Council distorts facts and blocks Martha’s blog by Integrity? Not in the CondemAll.

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!

Integrity? Not in the CondemAll also commented

  • 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.

    1. Price
    2. Internal Process
    3. Sustainability
    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.

  • 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

  • Supreme Court finds for appellants on Named Persons
    Who is stating that it won’t go ahead, all be it in a revised form?
  • Supreme Court finds for appellants on Named Persons
    And they would have got away with it if it wasn’t for those pesky kids…

    (I’ll get my coat)

    The extent to which it is defective must be marginal if it got as far as appeals to the Supreme Court.

    Be interesting to see how much any revisions are actually material in terms of what is rolled out but my gut feeling is that they will be marginal and a lot of people happy at today’s ruling are going to be spitting blood.

  • Supreme Court finds for appellants on Named Persons
    My personal view on this is that we are better without the thumbs up and down. They don’t mean anything and they just clutter the page. I think they are more of a trivial facebook/twitter thing than something for a forum.

    You also get people who simply use them just because they don’t like the poster regardless of what they say. I am pretty sure if Malcolm or NCH posted a story about a lovely old lady being recognised for her lifetime commitment to helping retired guide dogs there would be someone petty enough to give it a thumbs down!

    However I appreciate people might like them.

  • Supreme Court finds for appellants on Named Persons
    It is probably worth being clear that this will not stop it being implemented – it just means there will be some amendments to it. Amendments which could have been got to without a stack of cash wasted on legal battles if politicians could be a little more grown up and a little less obsessed with never admitting they don’t know everything.
  • What now for Scotland?
    Jnrtick

    Like indy1 it was a campaign packed with untruths from both sides and it further demonstrated that our politicians will say anything to hoodwink the public to voting their way. We are already seeing the Remain camp back pedalling on two of the claims they pedalled relentlessly in order to get votes.

    I think you’re pessimistic in terms of the number of previous NO voters that this will swing. Hardly scientific I know but I have been very surprised at the number of friends of mine who have already said they will now vote yes, some of them who were staunch No voters before. However I’m not basing this view on what a few of my mates say! There is just an inherent logic that such an issue is bound to cause a degree of swing toward Yes and we know that swing doesn’t need to be substantial.

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