Scoring the bid of an ex-girlfriend for a £70m public contract

Johan Briggs made this Freedom of Information request to Tees Valley Combined Authority

Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

The request was partially successful.

An extraordinary conflict of interest is revealed in the scoring of the Tees Valley Legal Services Framework.

One of the three people deciding the final scores for the four year, £70m public contract had previously been in a relationship with a senior member of one of the bidders.

That should have been obvious red flag and a basis for the person to be excluded from the scoring process. Yet astonishingly that does not appear to have happened.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/8...

1. What was the name of the person from Teesside International Airport who undertook the scoring, despite this obvious conflict of interest?

2. Was the bid from their ex-girlfriend successful in being chosen for the four year, £70m public contract?

3. How many people were involved in scoring the bids?

4. Provide all notes and / or copies of any emails which refer to conflict of interest in this procurement process from between 1 June 2021 and 30 August 2021.

5. Please provide all the conflicts of interest declarations for TVCA-000218

TVCA Governance, Tees Valley Combined Authority

Dear Mr Briggs

Freedom of Information Act 2000 Ref: 052/2022

Thank you for your correspondence received on the 22 July 2022.

Your request is being considered under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. If this request is for information that the Combined Authority holds, you will receive the information requested by 18 August 2022 which is within the statutory timescale of 20 working days.

However, please note the Act defines a number of exemptions that may prevent release of the requested information. There will therefore be an assessment of your request to determine if any exemptions apply to the information requested. If the information cannot be released, or only released in part, you will be informed of the reasons why, together with any rights of appeal.

If the information requested refers to a third party, they may be consulted before deciding whether it can be released.

Yours sincerely

Elaine Braham | Governance & Business Support Officer
Tees Valley Combined Authority

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TVCA Governance, Tees Valley Combined Authority

1 Attachment

 

Dear Mr Briggs,

 

Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Ref:  52/2022

 

Thank you for your correspondence received on 22^nd July, 2022. In
response to your request, I can now provide the following information.  

 

You asked:-

1. What was the name of the person from Teesside International Airport who
undertook the scoring, despite this obvious conflict of interest?

Our response:-

As per our previous response, under Section 40 of the Freedom of
Information Act, it would be inappropriate to disclose the name of the
individual. The individual declared all interests and we have provided you
with a copy of their Conflict of Interest declaration.

 

You asked:-

2. Was the bid from their ex-girlfriend successful in being chosen for the
four year, £70m public contract?

Our response:-

Seven firms were appointed to the £7million framework and the bid in
question was unsuccessful. More information on the appointments are
available on Contracts Finder ([1]Contracts Finder - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk))
and Find a Tender Service ([2]Find high value contracts in the public
sector - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk))

 

You asked:-

3. How many people were involved in scoring the bids?

Our response:-

As per our previous response, three people were involved in scoring the
bid.

 

You asked:-

4. Provide all notes and / or copies of any emails which refer to conflict
of interest in this procurement process from between 1 June 2021 and 30
August 2021.

Our response:-

There are no notes or emails in relation to this. The declaration was
considered by the Procurement Team when the issue was first identified,
and we were satisfied that this would not impact the evaluation.

 

You asked:-

5. Please provide all the conflicts of interest declarations for
TVCA-000218

Our response:-

There are no other Conflicts of Interest declarations.

 

 

 

If you have any queries or concerns please contact me in the first
instance.  

 

However, if you are unhappy with the way your request for information has
been handled, you may request an internal review by writing to:  

 

Group Chief Executive, Tees Valley Combined Authority, Teesside Airport
Business Suite, Teesside International Airport, Darlington. DL2 1NJ. 

If, after your complaint has been determined, you remain dissatisfied with
the handling of your request or complaint, you have a right to appeal to
the Information Commissioner at: 

 

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.  Telephone: 0303 123 1113:  Website:
[3]www.ico.gov.uk.   

The ICO does not make a charge for an appeal.  

 

Yours sincerely, 

 

 

Sally Henry | Governance Officer

Tees Valley Combined Authority

 

 

 

 

 

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TVCA statement “Seven firms were appointed to the £7million framework“ is inconsistent with the link below, which shows that, in fact, 8 firms were appointed to a £70m framework.

https://bidstats.uk/tenders/2021/W50/764...

Jack Greenwell left an annotation ()

On Section 40 of the FOIA, the ICO guidance advises:

“The more senior an employee is and the more responsibility they have for decision making and expenditure of public money, the greater their expectation should be that you disclose their names.”

Being invited to ‘consolidate’ the scores of a contract worth £70M demonstrates seniority and influence. So the response to question 1 sounds inconsistent with ICO guidance. There also seems to be a legitimate interest in more information being released, again contrary to what has happened.