Kingston Council admits contract mistakes

Surrey Comet: Kingston Council admits contract mistakes 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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Comments (6)

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11:46am Wed 7 Aug 13

Tony from Surbiton says...

Given the amounts concerned, this is scandalous. How can such large amounts of Council Tax payer's money be spent without following strict guidelines? Even if nothing 'improper' did happen, the lack of financial control by the council has left it vulnerable to 'improper' actions.
Given the amounts concerned, this is scandalous. How can such large amounts of Council Tax payer's money be spent without following strict guidelines? Even if nothing 'improper' did happen, the lack of financial control by the council has left it vulnerable to 'improper' actions. Tony from Surbiton
  • Score: 11

7:13pm Wed 7 Aug 13

Beverly RA says...

That universal political answer will be given.
"Lessens will be learned "
Not a word from the leader of the council of course .
Or is this a headless ship.
That universal political answer will be given. "Lessens will be learned " Not a word from the leader of the council of course . Or is this a headless ship. Beverly RA
  • Score: 1

7:23pm Wed 7 Aug 13

Monitor lizard says...

'Nothing improper' happened? Yet those identified as 'responsible' for this financial fiasco are no longer working for the Council? Do they really think that council tax payers are that gullible?

Precisely how is it possible for council officers to 'duplicate payments' over a five year period without anyone noticing?

Call in the Fraud Squad!
'Nothing improper' happened? Yet those identified as 'responsible' for this financial fiasco are no longer working for the Council? Do they really think that council tax payers are that gullible? Precisely how is it possible for council officers to 'duplicate payments' over a five year period without anyone noticing? Call in the Fraud Squad! Monitor lizard
  • Score: 0

12:48am Thu 8 Aug 13

Milly Hilly says...

I agree with Monitor Lizard - how come nobody at Kingston Council noticed that there were 'duplicated payments'? No wonder Kingston Council has the highest council tax in London.

And taking into account how £4m was spent, it ill behoves the Lib Dem's former council leader to dismiss a possible cost of £200 as being "not sustainable" to hold a referendum on council tax hikes. How typical of a non-Liberal - but liberal with taxpayers' money - undemocratic regime. This is where he's quoted: http://www.standard.
co.uk/news/politics/
eric-pickles-condemn
s-gutless-kingston-a
s-it-gets-ready-to-r
aise-council-tax-by-
nearly-2-8469793.htm
l

I hope the electorate take all of this into account when they cast their vote next May.
I agree with Monitor Lizard - how come nobody at Kingston Council noticed that there were 'duplicated payments'? No wonder Kingston Council has the highest council tax in London. And taking into account how £4m was spent, it ill behoves the Lib Dem's former council leader to dismiss a possible cost of £200 as being "not sustainable" to hold a referendum on council tax hikes. How typical of a non-Liberal - but liberal with taxpayers' money - undemocratic regime. This is where he's quoted: http://www.standard. co.uk/news/politics/ eric-pickles-condemn s-gutless-kingston-a s-it-gets-ready-to-r aise-council-tax-by- nearly-2-8469793.htm l I hope the electorate take all of this into account when they cast their vote next May. Milly Hilly
  • Score: 1

7:18am Thu 8 Aug 13

Beverly RA says...

The councils books are Audited every year by an independent company of Auditors , begs a question ?
The councils books are Audited every year by an independent company of Auditors , begs a question ? Beverly RA
  • Score: 0

5:56pm Thu 8 Aug 13

concernedofkingston says...

The apparent confusion in people's minds about whether something improper did or did not happen is regrettable.

I can happily accept no fraud is involved (as the Council would then be required to refer matters to the police for further investigation?) On the face of it, however, it seems that the payments might be regarded as "ultra vires" (i.e. outside of the Coucil's powers), If this is the case then something improper did happen.

Perhaps the Chief Executive or Leader of the council should check with their heads of law and finance and then clarify the comments if necessary so that taxpayers can be absolutely clear that they have not exceeded their legal powers or breached their own financial regulations/ contract standing orders.
The apparent confusion in people's minds about whether something improper did or did not happen is regrettable. I can happily accept no fraud is involved (as the Council would then be required to refer matters to the police for further investigation?) On the face of it, however, it seems that the payments might be regarded as "ultra vires" (i.e. outside of the Coucil's powers), If this is the case then something improper did happen. Perhaps the Chief Executive or Leader of the council should check with their heads of law and finance and then clarify the comments if necessary so that taxpayers can be absolutely clear that they have not exceeded their legal powers or breached their own financial regulations/ contract standing orders. concernedofkingston
  • Score: 0

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