Contract details of latest ERP Gold Programme Manager

The request was partially successful.

Dear Northamptonshire County Council,

Background

Northamptonshire County Council is one of the founding partner authorities of Local Government Shared Services (LGSS). In the November 2017 meeting of the LGSS Joint Committee
(https://cmis.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/ccc_l...), a report produced by the consultants Agilisys about the state of the “ERP Gold” business software implementation programme was presented to Members (Item 5A). At the time the programme was behind schedule and had been affected by various complications. The report’s first recommendation was that “LGSS go to market to appoint a seasoned programme manager to oversee the programme.”

The November ERP update report (Item 5, paragraph 4.5) states that:
“LGSS has managed to successfully engage someone and a new Senior Programme Manager has been contracted to start on 27th November. This individual comes with very significant ERP and other large system implementation experience, including in a shared service environment, and with excellent references.”

Requests

In respect of the contract with the above-mentioned Senior Programme Manager appointed last November, I would like NCC to send me the following documents under FOI:
1) A copy of the un-redacted, full final contract(s) with this service provider (i.e. not drafts or templates), showing dates, signatures, seals and contract reference number(s). Please note the comment in the Local Government Transparency Code 2015 about commercial confidentiality:
“The Government has not seen any evidence that publishing details about contracts entered into by local authorities would prejudice procurement exercises or the interests of commercial organisations,..”
2) A copy of the advertisement(s) relating to the above contract award opportunity published by NCC and/or LGSS
3) A list of the bidders for the Senior Programme Manager role
4) Copies of the above-mentioned references provided to NCC/LGSS in respect of the Senior Programme Manager’s experience and credentials.
5) A copy of the contract award notice(s) for the above contract(s) and details of where it/they were published.
6) Copies of all invoices submitted to date by the above-mentioned service provider to NCC or any of the LGSS partner authorities in respect of the Senior Programme Manager role.
7) Copies of all email correspondence within LGSS and its partners/customers in connection with the procurement and appointment of the above-mentioned Senior Programme Manager position.

After downloading the LGSS Procurement Contracts Register today I cannot identify the Senior Programme Management contract. Please can you show me where it is found on the register, or explain why it isn’t on the register.

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Rowson

Freedom of Information, Northamptonshire County Council

Dear Mr Rowson,

 

Freedom of Information Request: FR7878

 

I am writing to acknowledge your request for information dated 12/01/2018
which was received by us on 15/01/2018.

 

Our team is dealing with your request and we will be in contact with you
soon. If you have any queries about this email, please contact me quoting
the reference FR7878 in any future communications.

 

You should expect a further response within 20 working days.

 

Kind regards

 

Sarah Jobling

Senior Administrator

Freedom of Information/Data Protection Team

Business Intelligence and Project Management

Northamptonshire County Council

 

Tel: 01604 368360

[1][email address]

[2]www.northamptonshire.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Freedom of Information,
Whatdotheyknow.com has reminded me that the 20 working day deadline for your response to my request has passed. I should have had it by now. Please provide me with the information I requested without further delay.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Rowson

Freedom of Information, Northamptonshire County Council

Dear Mr Rowson,

Thank you for your email.

Your request was sent to us at 20:34 on 12^th January, a Friday evening,
and so was not received by us until Monday the 15^th. The 20 working day
timeframe starts on the working day following receipt and so FR7878 is due
today.

I will be in contact with you again later in the day.

Kind regards

Sarah Jobling

Senior Administrator

Freedom of Information/Data Protection Team

Business Intelligence and Project Management

Northamptonshire County Council

 

Tel: 01604 368360

[email address]

[1]www.northamptonshire.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

 

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Freedom of Information, Northamptonshire County Council

Dear Mr Rowson,

 

I write further to my earlier email.

 

Unfortunately, I am still awaiting the final approved response to FR7878
and so will be unable to reply to you today. I would therefore be very
grateful if you could agree to an extension of 10 working days, to
26/02/2018.

 

I can assure you that our team are constantly working to provide a
comprehensive response to your request and will provide disclosure to you
sooner if we are able.

 

I apologise for any inconvenience that this delay may cause and thank you
in advance for your cooperation.

 

Kind regards

 

Sarah Jobling

Senior Administrator

Freedom of Information/Data Protection Team

Business Intelligence and Project Management

Northamptonshire County Council

 

Tel: 01604 368360

[email address]

[1]www.northamptonshire.gov.uk

 

 

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/

Freedom of Information, Northamptonshire County Council

40 Attachments

Dear Mr Rowson,

 

Please find attached our response to FR7878.

 

Thank you for your patience.

 

Kind regards

 

Sarah Jobling

Senior Administrator

Freedom of Information/Data Protection Team

Business Intelligence and Project Management

Northamptonshire County Council

 

Tel: 01604 368360

[email address]

[1]www.northamptonshire.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/

Dear Freedom of Information,
Thank you for your recent response to FR7878. I am writing to request an internal review of it. The numbered points below refer to the numbered questions in the original FOI request.

1) When relying on FOIA exemptions in a refusal notice for some or all of the requested information, an authority cannot simply copy and paste extracts from the legislation without explaining which parts of those exemptions are being applied to which pieces of refused information. It must explain in detail why it is refusing the information, what parts of named exemptions are being applied in every instance and how those exemptions apply to the refused information. Northamptonshire County Council has made no argument whatsoever for refusing me the information it has redacted.

Both Section S40(2) and S43 of FOIA 2000 are qualified exemptions, which mean they are subject to the public interest test. NCC has not even mentioned the public interest test in its response, let alone provided the arguments for and against revealing each piece of withheld information in the public interest. It has totally failed to comply with S17 of FOIA 2000.
I am therefore asking the authority to review this question and answer it properly. If my request is still denied in whole or in part, I would ask that NCC justifies any redactions by reference to specific exemptions of the Act. I will also expect all non-exempt material to be released.

I remind NCC that any refusal notice should comply with S17 of the Act in every respect.
On the specific question of the public interest, I would point out that the ERP Gold project is already one year behind schedule, partly it appears, because the previous Programme Manager was incorrectly procured. The authority is also currently under a best value inspection with particular emphasis on its corporate governance and financial management systems, of which ERP Gold is one. There would therefore appear to be an even greater public interest in knowing the full facts about the procurement of the latest Programme Manager.

2) It is not clear which is the advert document referred to. The response to Q5 (contract award notice) refers to the attachment provided for Q2. The “2 ENOTICES” attachment entitled “Contract Award Notice” does feature Caja Ltd and contract No. SA264519 on p23 (the same contract as in the timesheet spreadsheet), but there is no date on the “Contract Award Notice”, and a contract award notice is not the same document as an advertisement, which under a DPS arrangement must precede the contract award by at least the stipulated number of days (Public Contracts Regulations 2015, No. 34). Also a DPS must comply with all the conditions set out in S34 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. In the heavily redacted Supplier Agreement document provided, paragraph (C) on p2 states:

“The Vendor placed a Contract Notice in the Official Journal of the European Union on 25 November 2016 to establish a Dynamic Purchasing System (“DPS”) for the procurement of Temporary Workers.”

November 25th 2017 was one day after the agreement date on p47 of the unsigned Supplier Agreement document, and also one day after the LGSS Joint Committee was informed that a successful candidate had been found [through Caja Ltd] and would begin work on November 27th. This suggests that the DPS documentation is a sham, designed to create the impression that NCC/LGSS had followed the proper procurement procedures in respect of advertising and the contract award notice when it had not. The notion that the EU document is a sham is reinforced by the authority acknowledging in its response to Q3 that specific sources were proactively approached, rather than the procurement coming from the Dynamic Purchasing System.

In other words the dates are the wrong way round. The evidence points to the candidate being selected before the DPS was set up. Please clarify whether this is correct, and if not, please identify which of the attachments provided is the advertisement, and please explain the discrepancy in dates.

3) Please confirm that there was only one candidate (Mark Reader) and acknowledge that his services were not procured using the Dynamic Purchasing System.

4) Once again, the response to Q4) is wholly inadequate. The authority has simply pasted a section from S41 of the legislation, without any explanation or any reference to the public interest test. As regards, S40(2) and S43, my comments on Q1 above apply. As for S41, the authority has to go through the proper process of answering the request properly, giving due attention to every aspect of it. The ICO offers guidance on this, which can be found on https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...

With respect to S41 and the requested references, the authority needs to consider for example whether the nature of the requested information is personal or private, whether a legal person would be able to bring an action for breach of confidence if the authority disclosed those references, and whether such an action would be likely to succeed. Then it has to consider the public interest. The ICO guidance on this includes three instances where the public interest might justify releasing the information. For example where disclosure would:
a) further public understanding of, and participation in the debate of issues of the day;
b) enable individuals to understand decisions made by public authorities affecting their lives and, in some cases, assist individuals in challenging those decisions; or
c) facilitate accountability and transparency in the spending of public money.

These I suggest are particularly relevant given the authority’s current circumstances, the procurement of the services of the previous Programme Manager, Agilisys' recommendation that LGSS go to market to find a seasoned programme manager, and the current state of the ERP Gold programme, with four weeks to go before its next go-live date.

5) As with question 1 above, the response to Q5 is wholly inadequate. The attached document beginning with the reference "2 ENOTICES" was (according to the unsigned service agreement) created after the successful candidate had been selected and after the date on the resulting service contract. Please explain this circumstance, or provide a true contract award notice, or acknowledge that none exists, as was the case with the previous Programme Manager.

6) The response to this question makes no sense. Invoices should exist that were submitted by Caja Ltd to Opus LGSS People Solutions Ltd, and/or submitted by Opus LGSS People Solutions Ltd to NCC/LGSS which separately identify the fees charged in respect of the services of the Senior Programme Manager. These invoices, or the part referring to the PM's services should reconcile with the claimed timesheet information provided in the spreadsheet, otherwise there is no transparency. The spreadsheet on its own is no evidence of invoices. Please provide the invoices I requested or, if the request is being denied, please follow the proper procedure, as mentioned above, including full compliance with S17 of FOIA 2000.

7) My last question related to the contracts register. I think I have shown above that the DPS arrangement was a sham in respect of Caja Ltd providing the services of the latest ERP Gold Programme Manager. That being the case, will the authority please explain why there is no reference to this contract in the LGSS Pro contracts register?

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Rowson

Freedom of Information, Northamptonshire County Council

Dear Mr Rowson,

 

I am writing to acknowledge your request for a review of Freedom of
Information request FR7878 dated 01/03/2018.

 

Your request has been logged under the reference number R7878 and passed
to our Reviewing Officer, Simon Deacon.

 

If you have any queries about this email, please contact us quoting the
reference in any future communications.

 

You should expect a further response within 20 working days.

Tracey Gilkes
FOI / DP Admin
Northamptonshire County Council
Business Intelligence and Project Management
ONE Angel Square
Angel Street
Northampton
NN1 1ED

t : 01604 368360
e: [email address]
     [email address]

 

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Freedom of Information, Northamptonshire County Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Rowson,

 

Please find attached the review reply letter for R7878.

 

Thank you for your patience.

 

Kind regards

 

Sarah Jobling

Senior Administrator

Freedom of Information/Data Protection Team

Business Intelligence and Project Management

Northamptonshire County Council

 

Tel: 01604 368360

[email address]

[1]www.northamptonshire.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/

Freedom of Information, Northamptonshire County Council

45 Attachments

Dear Mr Rowson

 

Please find attached our revised response to your FOI FR7878. We
understand that you raised to the ICO several matters in terms of the
original response to your FOI request.

 

This includes a revisit of the information previously redacted from the
original response as well as additional information provided on process
and associated matters that you may not have been aware of.

 

The summary of the response and our revised position is included in the
first document, “Reply letter FR7878 Review(ICO)”. The other files are the
associated attachments. New items are specifically referenced in the reply
letter. The other attachments are provided for completeness.

 

We have been in discussions with the ICO and have copied them (Ms J
Marshall) into our revised response.

 

We trust this revised response answers the question you raised to your
satisfaction.

 

Thank you for your patience in this matter.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Nick Byrom

Freedom of Information Team

Business Intelligence and Project Management

Northamptonshire County Council

One Angel Square

Ground Floor

Northampton

NN1 1ED

 

 

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