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Kingston Council admits contract mistakes
Kingston Council has admitted it does not know how a maintenance company was allowed to do thousands of pounds worth of works without a council contract.
The council said it had changed procedures since it was revealed the Teasdale Group, based in Tolworth, was paid thousands for work that should have gone to its former highways maintenance contractor RJ Dance.
The error was highlighted in a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by Kingston resident Nick Goss, who submitted a series of questions on the council’s payments to suppliers over £500.
The council’s response showed it paid former out-of-hours contractor Teasdale more than £2m in five years, including jobs such as installing road signs and railings.
Mr Goss said those jobs should have gone to RJ Dance – and the council has now agreed.
In its response to Mr Goss, Kingston Council said: “What we have found in some instances falls far short of the robust approach towards procurement taken by Kingston Council today and the requirements of its contract standing orders.
“Although there is no suggestion of anything improper, I can confirm that the members of staff who were managing this area at the time of the previous poor practice are no longer with us.”
Both Teasdale and RJ Dance no longer hold contracts with Kingston Council, after Enterprise Mouchel won the London Highways Alliance Contract (LoHAC) for the south London region, which started in April.
A spokesman for Teasdale said the company was asked to carry out the works by Kingston Council after offering the cheapest quote.
Mr Goss, who submitted his first request back in January, said: “The works undertaken by this contractor do not appear to be specialist, only simple highway works, and should have gone to the council’s highway maintenance contractor.
“When asked why the works had gone to an outside contractor that at the time had no contract in place with the council, the council said it was unable to advise why this is the case.
“I question if other procurement practices are being followed by the council in other departments and contracts.
“I hope this isn’t the case.”
Kingston Council has previously apologised to both Teasdale and Mr Goss after claiming to have paid the contractor £4m over five years, officers having mistakenly duplicated figures.
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