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Agenda item

Local Government Association Procurement Peer Challenge

This report presents the feedback from the Local Government Association (LGA) external peer review of corporate procurement within the Council, along with an update of the action that has already been taken, actions ongoing and consideration of any future actions following the recommendations to ensure the full benefits are realised from the peer review process. 

 

Minutes:

Members considered a report presenting feedback from LGA external peer review of corporate procurement within the Council, along with an update on the action that had already been undertaken, actions ongoing and consideration of any future actions following the recommendations to ensure the full benefits were realised from the peer review process. Mr Satvinder Rana, Programme Manager from the LGA, was present in the meeting to present the report.

 

In response to Members’ queries, Mr Rana also clarified that the LGA exercise undertaken was a peer review and not an investigation; therefore, the reviewers did not have an opportunity to look at detailed documentation providing evidence of processes in place. Mr Rana also stressed that he is not an procurement expert and cannot answer specific and detailed questions in this regard.

 

Members then asked for details of the reasons why the second LGA report investigating the procedures under which the Committee operated on 22 February 2017 had not been disclosed. It was explained by the Deputy Chief Executive that, because the matter referred to a review of conduct of the meeting, including individuals at the meeting, the HR and Standards Committee processes needed to be followed. It was noted that the Council Leader had issued a press release on the matter.

 

Some members questioned the remit and terms of reference of the LGA reviews. They expressed disappointment that the two reviews had been so broad without dealing with the main issue in hand and that the Audit & Governance committee had had no part in scoping either review.

 

The Finance and Procurement Manager then spoke to clarify Members’ questions. It was noted that:

·        the task group for commissioning and procurement network had been created and the review of the contract procedure rules had been undertaken; this would be reported back to the Committee in due course;

·        the target of 100% of transactions being procured would never be achieved as some of the payments (e.g. payments to government departments) were not procured;

·        every single payment raised at CYC was authorised and the internal audit had given the highest assurance rating in relation to the payment processes;

·        the issue raised in the A&G meeting in February referred to the retention of documents where no evidence of the procurement process used could be provided but not to the payment processes themselves;

·        all the current procurement contracts were currently stored centrally.

 

In response to Members’ queries, the Deputy Chief Executive and the Finance and Procurement Manager confirmed that for every single payment that the council conducts, there is the audit trail in the finance system, who authorised a payment and who raised the payment.

 

Resolved:                     (a) That the contents of the report and recommendations of the peer review feedback report be noted.

 

(b) That the answers to the 11 questions referred to in the scope of the review be requested from the LGA and to be circulated to the Committee.

 

(c) That the second report will be published for the committee as soon as possible, if necessary with the full version seen in private session and a redacted copy being public.

 

Reason:                        To update the Committee on the feedback from the LGA procurement peer review and keep regularly informed of any future actions taken.

Supporting documents:

 

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