Pls disclose the case studies & references used to admit Ignite to the NEPO NEPro procurement framework

Dave Orr made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to North East Procurement Organisation

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Gwrthodwyd y cais gan North East Procurement Organisation.

Dear North East Procurement Organisation,

BACKGROUND

Here in Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWaT), the Ignite-led transformation (2017-19) has left local taxpayers and service users with costs said to be £10m.

Please note that Ignite supplied the Programme Manager throughout this ill-fated "transformation" programme (merging Taunton Deane and West Somerset Councils into Somerset West and Taunton Council).

The Advertising Complaints Authority (ASA) upheld my complaint that the rosy case study by Ignite was false, inaccurate and misleading. The ASA insisted it was removed.

https://leveller.live/2020/01/13/slapped...

An independent audit report was commissioned by SWaT Council and that found many problems, excess costs, missed savings and poor programme management:

https://democracy.somersetwestandtaunton...

https://www.somersetcountygazette.co.uk/...

It is clear that Ignite completely failed to make the circa £3m of annual savings they predicted from their transformation which they also directly programme managed.

NB Similar issues occurred in transformation in South Somerset District Council - also Ignite-led.

At SWaT, all costs (transformation, IT, redundancy, agency staff and recruitment etc) ended up at £10m (much higher than predicted by Ignite) and no annual savings (of circa £3m) predicted by Ignite are now expected to be made.

These programme delivery failures represent "substantial underperformance" by Ignite.

I understand that the Executive Committee of SWaT has very recently agreed to approach NEPO to request the root-cause analysis as per your recent Governance statement:

"Bloom are responsible for their accredited supply chain, connected via a contractual agreement. NEPO would not seek to blacklist suppliers at any time, however, in the event of repeat and/or substantial underperformance flagged to NEPO, NEPO would request Bloom present a root-cause analysis report to demonstrate how said underperformance does not continue."

I am interested in how Ignite was accredited on to the NEPO NEPro procurement framework agreement, given that this allows public bodies (incl local councils) to contract high value private services directly without an open and competitive tender (to UK & EU law).

I do not believe that NEPO should support poorly performing suppliers with a poor track record of delivering transformation programmes and claimed savings. Therefore, the public interest behind my request for information relating to Ignite's accreditation is sincere and high.

You state in recent correspondence:

"In regard to the accreditation process, as a minimum suppliers are required to demonstrate and produce the following prior to acceptance (note also additional compliance is sought on a case-by-case basis and based on the individual needs of the project):-

Enhanced Accreditation (greater than £75,000):

Enhanced Service Delivery Agreement
Registered company name and address.
VAT number and Certificate of Incorporation (if applicable).
One supporting reference for each category of accreditation.
Two case studies relevant to each category of accreditation
Minimum Professional Indemnity Insurance coverage of £2m
GDPR compliance".

FOI REQUEST

I do not regard the case studies that were assessed for Ignite's inclusion on the NEPO NEPro framework to be commercially confidential, nor the source of the supporting references.

Q1. Please disclose the "Two case studies relevant to each category of accreditation" for Ignite's accreditation;

Q2. Please disclose "One supporting reference for each category of accreditation" for ignite's accreditation.

Yours faithfully,

Dave Orr

NEPO Governance, North East Procurement Organisation

3 Atodiad

Dear Dave Orr,

 

Thank you for your Freedom of Information enquiry on 23rd September.  A
response will be forwarded to you within 20 working days.  The deadline
for this response will be 23rd October 2020.

 

Kind regards

 

Governance Team

North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO)

 

[1][email address] | [2]nepo.org

Guildhall, Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3AF

 

[3]cid:image002.jpg@01D3D0D2.EF601F40    [4]Image result for linkedin logo
black and white

 

National GO Award Winner 2020: NEPO has been recognised for
its award-winning approach to supplier relationship management in public
sector procurement.  [5]Find out more. 

 

[6]446A2C81

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.nepo.org/
3. https://twitter.com/NEPOprocurement
4. https://www.linkedin.com/company/nepo-no...
5. https://www.nepo.org/news-and-events/nep...

NEPO Governance, North East Procurement Organisation

Dear Dave Orr

Q1. Please disclose the "Two case studies relevant to each category of accreditation" for Ignite's accreditation;

Such Case Studies are submitted to Bloom as part of a private sector to private sector accreditation process. Bloom are a private limited company who provide a service to NEPO. Such case studies are therefore not subject to FOI.

Q2. Please disclose "One supporting reference for each category of accreditation" for ignite's accreditation.

Such references are submitted to Bloom as part of a private sector to private sector accreditation process. Bloom are a private limited company who provide a service to NEPO. Such references are therefore not subject to FOI.

Regards

Governance Team
North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO)

[email address] | nepo.org
Guildhall, Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3AF
     
 
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dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear North East Procurement Organisation,

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of North East Procurement Organisation's handling of my FOI request 'Pls disclose the case studies & references used to admit Ignite to the NEPO NEPro procurement framework'.

Please confirm that the person(s) who rejected this FOI request have had appropriate FOI Act training and hold appropriate certification.

The NEPO procurement framework allows public bodies to select suppliers without going through the full EU tendering process. This is a significant benefit to qualifying suppliers as it confers a commercial advantage and implies that accredited suppliers are competent and trustworthy.

The contracts let by NEPO via Bloom are from bodies in the public sector using public funding for public service provision and should be open to scrutiny under the FOI Act.

Public bodies would expect that qualifying suppliers have been thoroughly vetted to get on to the NEPO procurement framework.

Where very poor performance takes place (as it has here with Ignite - see narrative in the FOI request above) there should be a way for public bodies and/or their taxpaying citizens to assess whether the Bloom assessment of Ignite (on the direct behalf of NEPO) remains fit for purpose. i.e. their competence by results is in question.

There should also be a way for underperforming suppliers that NEPO holds on its framework to be challenged for improvement or even removal where their (in this case audited) past poor performance can result in damage to other public bodies and services in future.

If NEPO's outsource of this procurement framework is wholly considered "private to private" then that leaves an "ungoverned space" where Bloom and framework suppliers could engage in practices that are not in the public interest or even fraudulent or corrupt.

It is key that there is transparency and open and accountable oversight when things go wrong as they have done here with Ignite and the Somerset West and Taunton Council (where I live and pay council taxes and use services, so I have a direct interest)

While NEPO has outsourced the management of their framework to Bloom, this high public interest information for Ignite's qualification to be on and remain on the NEPO framework remains "held by NEPO".

See this ICO Guidance:

https://ico.org.uk/media/1043530/outsour...

I contend that the information held by Bloom on how suppliers were accredited is held on behalf of NEPO and is therefore open to disclosure under the FOI Act.

Please now supply the high public interest information requested.

Yours faithfully,

Dave Orr

NEPO Governance, North East Procurement Organisation

3 Atodiad

Dear Mr Orr,

 

Thank you for your Freedom of Information enquiry on 22^nd October
2020. NEPO will respond to the request within 20 working days of receipt.

 

Kind Regards,

 

NEPO Governance Team

North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO)

 

Guildhall, Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3AF | [1]nepo.org

 

 [2]cid:image002.jpg@01D3D0D2.EF601F40    [3]Image result for linkedin
logo black and white

 

NEPO’s procurement solutions can be accessed by public sector
organisations via a free of charge associate membership scheme. [4]Click
here to find out more.

 

National GO Award Winner 2020: NEPO has been recognised for
its award-winning approach to supplier relationship management in public
sector procurement.  [5]Find out more. 

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.nepo.org/
2. https://twitter.com/NEPOprocurement
4. https://www.nepo.org/associate-membership
5. https://www.nepo.org/news-and-events/nep...

NEPO Governance, North East Procurement Organisation

3 Atodiad

Dear Mr Orr,

 

Please find attached response to the Freedom of Information request
submitted 22^nd October.

 

Kind regards,

 

Governance Team

North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO)

 

[1][email address] | [2]nepo.org

Guildhall, Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3AF

 

[3]cid:image002.jpg@01D3D0D2.EF601F40    [4]Image result for linkedin logo
black and white

 

NEPRO³ recommended in new DfE guidance for schools: New guidance from the
Department for Education has singled out NEPRO³ as the preferred route for
educational settings to appoint and manage specialist professional
services. Find out more here [5]https://bit.ly/3mQEuN9  

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.nepo.org/
3. https://twitter.com/NEPOprocurement
4. https://www.linkedin.com/company/nepo-no...
5. https://bit.ly/3mQEuN9

Dear NEPO Governance,

I will now exercise my rights under the FOI Act to appeal this information request refusal to the ICO.

I have checked the following ICO guidance regarding outsourcing:

https://ico.org.uk/media/1043530/outsour...

I believe that paras 17, 18 and 19 apply.

Yours sincerely,

Dave Orr