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Procurement of Professional Services

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Dear Sutton Coldfield Town Council,
I would like to know more about how the Town Council appointed Andrew Tucker to deliver community planning work for the town. Your transparency info on the SCTC website suggests that Mr Tucker was awarded a contract worth £44,800 in March 2017.

Please could you provide:
1) The statement of requirements for this work
2) The Procurement method/framework used to advertise for these services
3) A list of all suppliers who expressed an interest in this work
4) The successful tender from Andrew Tucker (redactions for commercial sensitivity accepted)
5) Scoring of tender (quality and cost) and the ratio used to score submissions
6) The value for money test or evidence of one
7) A schedule of works including budget and time programme
8) Performance assessments eg. KPIs, SPMs etc carried out thus far for this contract
9) Equality assessment

I would expect all of the requested information already exists as part of the Council's procurement process and should not require any work to create anything.

Yours faithfully,

Mr Peter Clarke
Sutton Coldfield Resident

Natalia, Sutton Coldfield Town Council

Dear Mr Clarke,

I confirm receipt of your email on 26 November 2017. Information will be provided within the statutory timescale.

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Natalia, Sutton Coldfield Town Council

Dear Mr Clarke

Thank you for your FoI request.

The Council's contractual procedures are governed by its Financial Regulations. Para 11.1 of these Regulations allow the Council to source specialist services such as are provided by solicitors, accountants, surveyors and planning consultants without going through a competitive process.

Early in 2017, the Council identified a need for Planning advice and identified Mr Tucker, a recently retired senior local government officer with a planning background as having the right qualifications. The detailed terms of the appointment, which were agreed by the Council on 21 February 2017, are that Mr Tucker should be engaged as a consultant for 15 hours per week on a 15-month contract to be reviewed within 3 months of the start date and quarterly thereafter.

Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council

www.suttoncoldfieldtowncouncil.gov.uk

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Dear Natalia,
Thank you for your response, however, you haven't answered any of my questions, and instead have raised further concerns. Even though the Council have, for some reason, chosen not to follow any procurement procedure, they must have still drawn up a statement of requirements in order to draw up a contract. I sincerely hope the Council demanded a programme of works otherwise, how will they know if they got what they paid for?

The Financial Regulations you refer to, are clearly for the Council to fulfil its obligations and statutory duties, not to commission work. Long term, and non-statutory work must be procured using a fair and robust procurement process. This is really important as you are spending public money, and I cannot think of any reason why the Town Council would want to avoid this process that would ensure quality standards and value for money. I can find no evidence that Mr Tucker is even a Planning Consultant.

I would be very grateful if you could answer the numbered questions in my original FOI. From your response I have completed No.2 and No.3 for you. Please amend if incorrect. I have also added a further question in light of your vague answers.

1) The statement of requirements for this work
2) The Procurement method/framework used to advertise for these services [NONE]
3) A list of all suppliers who expressed an interest in this work [ANDREW TUCKER]
4) The successful tender from Andrew Tucker (redactions for commercial sensitivity accepted)
5) Scoring of tender (quality and cost) and the ratio used to score submissions
6) The value for money test or evidence of one
7) A schedule of works including budget and time programme
8) Performance assessments eg. KPIs, SPMs etc carried out thus far for this contract
9) Equality assessment
10) How was Mr Andrew Tucker introduced to the Town Council, and which Councillor sponsored this?

Yours sincerely,

Peter Clarke

Natalia, Sutton Coldfield Town Council

Thank you for your email. The office is now closed until Tuesday 2 January
2018. Emails will be actioned upon our return.

Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council

admin, Sutton Coldfield Town Council

Dear Mr Clarke

Thank you for your further FoI request. The information you have asked for is set out below:

1) The statement of requirements for this work.
The letter of engagement states that the consultant shall:
(a) Work with the Council on the strategic development of the Town Council
(b) Advise on Neighbourhood Planning
(c) Advise on the regeneration of the town
(d) Negotiate with BCC on service delegations/asset transfers and a charter for joint working, and
(e) Undertake any other relevant tasks which the parties may agree on.

2) The Procurement method/framework used to advertise for these services.
The appointment of a consultant followed a recruitment exercise to find an employee to lead on these functions. The vacancy was widely advertised and a number of candidates were interviewed but no suitable person was identified.

3) A list of all suppliers who expressed an interest in this work.
Mr Tucker was approached by the Council - see answer to question 10 below.

4) The successful tender from Andrew Tucker (redactions for commercial sensitivity accepted).
Not applicable. An hourly rate is charged,

5) Scoring of tender (quality and cost) and the ratio used to score submissions
Not applicable.

6) The value for money test or evidence of one.
The hourly rate is based on knowledge and experience of the market rates for this sort of consultancy.

7) A schedule of works including budget and time programme.
Not applicable

8) Performance assessments eg. KPIs, SPMs etc carried out thus far for this contract.
Regular progress reports are made to Councillors eg delivery of new Strategic Plan for the Council.

9) Equality assessment.
Not applicable.

10) How was Mr Andrew Tucker introduced to the Town Council, and which Councillor sponsored this?
Mr Tucker was not known to any of the Councillors. The Local Government Resource Centre introduced Mr Tucker to the Councillors who invited him to interview.

Kind regards,
Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council
0121 663 1765

www.suttoncoldfieldtowncouncil.gov.uk

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