Oxford Direct Services Tendering Proceudre

Lucia Romano made this Freedom of Information request to Oxford City Council

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Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Oxford City Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Oxford City Council,

When a contract is awarded by Oxford Direct Services (ODS) to an external contractor for services, please provide answers to the following questions:

1. What is the minimum number of tenders required before a contract is awarded.

2. On what basis are contracts awarded?

3. Please supply a copy of the official documentation guidelines of the tendering process used by Oxford Direct Services.

4. Was there any occasion in 2020 when ODS did not abide by their own tendering procedure?

Yours faithfully,

LR

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Ms Romano,

Oxford City Council – Reference:9832

Thank you for your email below. Your request was received on 1st February 2021 and you will be sent a response within 20 working days (of receipt) in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000/ Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR), subject to the information not being exempt or containing reference to a third party.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recognises the unprecedented challenges all are facing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In particular they understand that resources, whether they are finances or people, may be diverted away from usual compliance or information rights work. Whilst the ICO can’t extend statutory timescales, they will not be penalising public authorities for prioritising other areas or adapting their usual approach during this extraordinary period.

Therefore while the Council will make every effort to comply with the Statutory Requirements you may experience understandable delays when making information rights requests during the pandemic.

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Winfield
Information Governance Requests Officer

Kathryn Winfield | Information Governance Requests Officer | Oxford City Council | Law and Governance | St. Aldate's Chambers | Oxford | OX1 1DS | Email: [email address] | T: 01865 252007
My working days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Stop the virus from spreading. Keep Oxford safe.
Follow the guidance: Clean hands. Wear a face mask. Keep your distance. Get tested if you have symptoms.

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freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Romano,
 
Oxford City Council – Reference:9832
 
Further to the acknowledgement below, I can respond to your Freedom of
Information Act 2000 request received on 1st February 2021 as follows:
 
When a contract is awarded by Oxford Direct Services (ODS) to an external
contractor for services, please provide answers to the following
questions:
 
1. What is the minimum number of tenders required before a contract is
awarded.
 
If a supply/service/ works requirement is below the EU tender threshold
ODS will normally seeks the number of quotes or tenders below
 
Less than £10k at least one quote
 
Over £10k but less than £100k a minimum of two quotes
 
Over £100k up to the EU tender threshold between three and six quotes
 
In some cases the ODS may seek to use a compliant framework and will
follow the framework agreed process to award.
 
In circumstances where it is not possible to seek competition to urgency
or the solution can only be provided by a single provider an exemption
from seeking competition is considered.   
 
 
2. On what basis are contracts awarded?
 
Almost all quotes and tenders are awarded on the basis of the most
economically advantageous solution , taking into account both quality and
price.
 
3. Please supply a copy of the official documentation guidelines of the
tendering process used by Oxford Direct Services.
 
Please see attached. This was updated in December 2020.
 
 
4. Was there any occasion in 2020 when ODS did not abide by their own
tendering procedure?
 
Only when an exemption from tendering was requested and approved in line
with the ODS Procurement Policy.
 
It might be useful to also read the Procurement Policy notes issued on
[1]www.gov.uk regarding exemptions due to Covid 19
 
If you disagree with any part of the response to your request, you are
entitled to ask the Council for an internal review of the decision(s)
made.  You may do this by writing to the Monitoring Officer, by either
email – [email address] – or by post to Monitoring Officer, Oxford
City Council, St Aldate’s Chambers, St Aldate’s, Oxford, OX1 1DS.  After
the result of the internal review, if you remain dissatisfied, you may ask
the Information Commissioner to intervene on your behalf.  You may do this
by writing to the Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Kathryn Winfield
Information Governance Requests Officer
 
Kathryn Winfield | Information Governance Requests Officer | Oxford City
Council | Law and Governance | St. Aldate's Chambers | Oxford | OX1 1DS |
Email: [email address] | T: 01865 252007
My working days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays
 
Stop the virus from spreading. Keep Oxford safe.
Follow the guidance: Clean hands. Wear a face mask. Keep your distance.
Get tested if you have symptoms.
 
 
 
 

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Dear freedomofinformation,

Thank you for your response of 02 February 2021.

In order of transparency, is there any way members of the public can view the audit trail of documentation leading to the award of contracts?

Please provide further details of the exemption from tendering that was requested and approved in line
with the ODS Procurement Policy that you refer to.

Yours sincerely,

Lucia Romano

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Ms Romano,
 
Oxford City Council – Reference:9832
 
Further to the email below, I can respond as follows:
 
In order of transparency, is there any way members of the public can view
the audit trail of documentation leading to the award of contracts?
 
Tender evaluation information – All tenderers are provided with their
tender scores and feedback on their submission. The information in
relation to the tender of an unsuccessful bidder is commercially
sensitive. The Government Transparency Code sets out the information a
public body needs to publish.  
 
[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
 
Please provide further details  of  the  exemption from tendering that was
requested and approved in line with the ODS Procurement Policy that you
refer to.
 
Exemption from tendering – The requirement of what is made available is
also covered in the report. For completeness ODS gave three exemptions
from tendering in 2020. The reasons related to urgency (safety), system
maintenance contract that had closed systems that could not be maintained
by other companies, Unable to carry out a tender process during the
lockdown so an existing contract was temporarily extended and has since
been re tendered.  
 
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Kathryn Winfield
Information Governance Requests Officer
 
Kathryn Winfield | Information Governance Requests Officer | Oxford City
Council | Law and Governance | St. Aldate's Chambers | Oxford | OX1 1DS |
Email: [email address] | T: 01865 252007
My working days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays
 
Stop the virus from spreading. Keep Oxford safe.
Follow the guidance: Clean hands. Wear a face mask. Keep your distance.
Get tested if you have symptoms.
 
 
 
 

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Dear freedomofinformation,

Thank you for you response of 03 February 2021.

Making reference to the document you quote:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk...

The document states:

Procurement information31.
Local authorities must publish details of every invitation to tender for contracts to provide goods and/or services with a value that exceeds £5,000. For each invitation, the following details must be published:
+ reference number
+ title of agreement
+ local authority department responsible
+ description of the goods and/or services being provided
+ supplier name and details
+ sum to be paid over the length of the contract or the estimated annual spending or budget for the contract
+ Value Added Tax that cannot be recovered
+ start, end and review dates
+ whether or not the contract was the result of an invitation to quote or a published invitation to tender, and
+ whether or not the supplier is a small or medium sized enterprise and/or a voluntary or community sector organisation and where it is, provide the relevant registration number

Does this not mean that you are obliged to make available details of all contracts put out for tender which exceed £5,000?

Yours sincerely,

Lucia Romano

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Ms Romano,

Oxford City Council – Reference:9832

Further to your email below, at this stage we consider your email is seeking clarification on the information provided rather than an internal review. I have asked the department to provide clarification and I shall respond as soon as I am able.

Once an updated response is provided if you are still not satisfied you are entitled to ask the Council for an internal review of the decision(s) made.

If you disagree with any part of the response to your request, you are entitled to ask the Council for an internal review of the decision(s) made. You may do this by writing to the Monitoring Officer, by either email – [email address] – or by post to Monitoring Officer, Oxford City Council, St Aldate’s Chambers, St Aldate’s, Oxford, OX1 1DS. After the result of the internal review, if you remain dissatisfied, you may ask the Information Commissioner to intervene on your behalf. You may do this by writing to the Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Winfield
Information Governance Requests Officer

Kathryn Winfield | Information Governance Requests Officer | Oxford City Council | Law and Governance | St. Aldate's Chambers | Oxford | OX1 1DS | Email: [email address] | T: 01865 252007
My working days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Stop the virus from spreading. Keep Oxford safe.
Follow the guidance: Clean hands. Wear a face mask. Keep your distance. Get tested if you have symptoms.

show quoted sections

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Ms Romano,
 
Oxford City Council – Reference:9832
 
Further to the  email below, I can respond as follows:
 
Does this not mean that you are obliged to make available details of all
contracts put out for tender which exceed £5,000?
 
The Council publishes contract details on the website via the following
link:
 
[1]https://www.odsgroup.co.uk/Register-of-C...
 
If you disagree with any part of the response to your request, you are
entitled to ask the Council for an internal review of the decision(s)
made.  You may do this by writing to the Monitoring Officer, by either
email – [2][email address] – or by post to Monitoring Officer, Oxford
City Council, St Aldate’s Chambers, St Aldate’s, Oxford, OX1 1DS.  After
the result of the internal review, if you remain dissatisfied, you may ask
the Information Commissioner to intervene on your behalf.  You may do this
by writing to the Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Kathryn Winfield
Information Governance Requests Officer
 
Kathryn Winfield | Information Governance Requests Officer | Oxford City
Council | Law and Governance | St. Aldate's Chambers | Oxford | OX1 1DS |
Email: [email address] | T: 01865 252007
My working days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays
 
Stop the virus from spreading. Keep Oxford safe.
Follow the guidance: Clean hands. Wear a face mask. Keep your distance.
Get tested if you have symptoms.
 
 
 
 

show quoted sections

Dear freedomofinformation,

Thank you for your response of 03 March 2021.

You wrote:

The Council publishes contract details on the website via the following
link:
[1]https://https://www.odsgroup.co.uk/Regis...

The information provided in the spreadsheet on the ODS website does not provide the minimum information as stipulated in the Government document:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk...

Namely:

Procurement information31.
Local authorities must publish details of every invitation to tender for contracts to provide goods and/or services with a value that exceeds £5,000. For each invitation, the following details must be published:
+ reference number
+ title of agreement
+ local authority department responsible
+ description of the goods and/or services being provided
+ supplier name and details
+ sum to be paid over the length of the contract or the estimated annual spending or budget for the contract
+ Value Added Tax that cannot be recovered
+ start, end and review dates
+ whether or not the contract was the result of an invitation to quote or a published invitation to tender, and
+ whether or not the supplier is a small or medium sized enterprise and/or a voluntary or community sector organisation and where it is, provide the relevant registration number

I would be grateful for your response.

Yours sincerely,

Lucia Romano

freedomofinformation, Oxford City Council

Dear Ms Romano,

Thank you for your email below. I have passed on your comments to the corporate services department at Oxford Direct Services (ODS) and I will ask them to respond to you directly.

Yours sincerely

Kathryn Winfield
Information Governance Requests Officer

Kathryn Winfield | Information Governance Requests Officer | Oxford City Council | Law and Governance | St. Aldate's Chambers | Oxford | OX1 1DS | Email: [email address] | T: 01865 252007
My working days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Stop the virus from spreading. Keep Oxford safe.
Follow the guidance: Clean hands. Wear a face mask. Keep your distance. Get tested if you have symptoms.

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Jane Lubbock,

6 Attachments

Dear Requestee,

The ODS contract register is currently being updated. I will advise you
when the update is available on the website.

Many organisations use slightly different headings that cover the same
information.

 

Regards

Jane Lubbock

 

[1]cid:image005.png@01D60C07.A577E210  

Jane Lubbock | Assistant Director, Corporate Services

ODS | Horspath Road | Oxford OX4 2RH

[email address]| [2]www.odsgroup.co.uk

01865 335804 | 07485 335804

 

[3]cid:image002.png@01D5C6EC.68F0A300[4]cid:image003.png@01D5C6EC.68F0A300 [5]cid:image004.png@01D5C6EC.68F0A300 [6]cid:image005.png@01D5C6EC.68F0A300

 

 

 

 

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References

Visible links
2. http://www.odsgroup.co.uk/
3. https://www.facebook.com/OxfordDirectSer...
4. https://www.linkedin.com/company/12053277
5. http://www.twitter.com/ODS_doinggood
6. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOFfsRq...

Dear Jane Lubbock,

Can you confirm that the ODS contract register is being updated because it did not comply with Government guidelines?

Yours sincerely,

Lucia Romano

Jane Lubbock,

Dear Lucia,
The ODS contract register is being updated in the course of normal updating. This will be available by the end of next week.
In the meantime if you wish to check out any ODS spend over £500 this is available via the OCC website.

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Dear Jane Lubbock,

On the 24th March you wrote:

"Dear Lucia,
The ODS contract register is being updated in the course of normal updating. This will be available by the end of next week. In the meantime if you wish to check out any ODS spend over £500 this is available via the OCC website."

Can you please update on the status of the ODS contract register. There still appears to be gaps in the column "Total Contract Value".

The information provided in the spreadsheet on the ODS website does not provide the minimum information as stipulated in the Government document:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk...

Yours sincerely,

Lucia Romano

Jane Lubbock,

Dear Lucia
The updated contract register should be available in the next two weeks
Regards
Jane

Jane Lubbock | Assistant Director, Corporate Services
ODS | Horspath Road | Oxford OX4 2RH
[email address]| www.odsgroup.co.uk
01865 335804 | 07485 335804

  

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