Tees Valley Legal Services Framework “consolidation of scores”

The request was partially successful.

Dear Tees Valley Combined Authority,

I’m grateful for your FOI response dated 13 May 2022, which includes emails giving insight into the mindset of the staff involved in the procurement process.

The email addresses of the individuals involved in the scoring process have rightly been hidden, but there names should not be.

After all, what underpins these questions is how public money has been handled. Obviously it is important that declarations of interest can then be checked against the participants in this meeting. That can’t be done if their identities are hidden.

Therefore:

1. Please provide a list of the names of the people who attended the consolidation meeting.

2. Please explain why the Airport (which the combined authority has claimed is outside the scope of the public sector) formed part of the scoring group.

3. Please provide the date and time of the consolidation meeting.

4. Was the consolidation meeting recorded, if so please provide a link to the recording.

5. please provide the declaration of interest for each member of the scoring group and those at the consolidation meeting.

6. Please provide a list of the staff who excused themselves from the process on the basis of having a conflict of interest.

7. Please provide messages sent between members of the scoring group, in the period running from 2 hours before and 2 hours after the meeting. This should include any teams messages sent between the scoring group during the consolidation meeting.

Yours faithfully,

Johan Briggs

TVCA Governance, Tees Valley Combined Authority

Dear Mr Briggs

Freedom of Information Act 2000 Ref: 032/2022

Thank you for your correspondence received on the 17 May 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 15 June 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

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Briggs

Re: Freedom of Information Request 032/2022

Thank you for your correspondence received on 17 May 2022. In response to your request, I can now provide the following information.

1. You Asked: Please provide a list of the names of the people who attended the consolidation meeting.
Our Response: The names will not be provided due to the application of Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. However, we are able to assure you that no person with a conflict of interest is permitted to participate in any tender evaluation exercise and a conflict
check is undertaken by the Procurement Team before they are given access to any evaluation material.

2. You Asked: Please explain why the Airport (which the combined authority has claimed is outside the scope of the public sector) formed part of the scoring group.
Our Response: The Airport is named as a contracting authority (buyer) in the contract specification. As such it is entitled to use the resultant framework.

3. You Asked: Please provide the date and time of the consolidation meeting.
Our Response: Evaluations Consensus meetings – which were arranged and overseen by our procurement department - were held on:
24 August 2021 10:00-11:30, 13:00-14:30, 15:00-15:30
25 August 2021 10:00-11:30, 12:00-13:00, 15:00
27 August 2021 9:00-11:30, 15:00-17:00

4. You Asked: Was the consolidation meeting recorded, if so please provide a link to the recording.
Our Response: It was not recorded.

5. You Asked: Please provide the declaration of interest for each member of the scoring group and those at the consolidation meeting.
Our Response: Attached

6. You Asked: Please provide a list of the staff who excused themselves from the process on the basis of having a conflict of interest.
Our Response: None

7. You Asked: Please provide messages sent between members of the scoring group, in the period running from 2 hours before and 2 hours after the meeting. This should include any teams messages sent between the scoring group during the consolidation meeting.
Our Response: We have conducted a search of our system and there are none relating to the evaluation process or the meeting in question.

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 of 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: www.ico.gov.uk.

The ICO does not make a charge for an appeal.

Yours sincerely

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Jack Greenwell left an annotation ()

So:

a) On 24th March 2021 a local paper ran the headline “The Endeavour Partnership backs Teesside International Airport revamp with five-figure investment”.

b) On 30th May 2021, Tees Valley Combined Authority launched its procurement for its £70m panel.

c) On 30th June 2021 Tees Valley Combined Authority invited Teesside International Airport to mark the bids.

d) Between 24th - 27th August 2021, Teesside International Airport was a key part of the small scoring group which “consolidated scores” and chose the Endeavour Partnership for the £70m contract.

Obviously, there is a legitimate question about how £70m of taxpayers money is being spent in this instance.

Equally troubling is all the hiding of information. For example, Tees Valley Combined Authority officials didn’t want to admit the role of Teesside International Airport. Indeed this was accidentally revealed in May 2022 when they slipped up in an FOI response by not obscuring a full email address.

Officials have refused to release information they clearly hold such as names of individuals involved in scoring, breakdown of the scores against each bidder, the changes made to each bidders scores in the ‘consolidation meetings’ or the value of the deal between the Endeavour Partnership and Teesside International Airport.

Teesside International Airport has refused to answer any questions on the grounds that “Teesside International Airport is a limited company, therefore not publicly owned”. This begs the question, if it is not publicly owned why was it allowed to decide a £70m contract days after concluding a deal with one of the bidders?

Sources:

1. http://netimesmagazine.co.uk/business/th...

2. https://www.government-online.net/tees-v...

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

4. https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/1...