We have now had sight of the full report into the procurement of consultancy for Undercliff Drive from High Point Rendel. The author of the report marked it as confidential, for release at the discretion of the Chief Executive.
The report was completed on 9th February, passed to the Isle of Wight council on the 12th February and made more widely available within the council on 14th February.
The executive summary is as follows
The Council acted either in ignorance or disregard of procurement rules and regulations and the CouncilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Constitution. The Council is, therefore, unable to demonstrate value for money in using public resources. The governance arrangements exposed by the failure to comply with statutory requirements fell short of the standards the public has a right to expect. Procurement regulations were not complied with and, in my opinion, the appointment of HPR was unlawful. The Council failed to secure its duty to achieve best value and the failure to enter into a lawful and fair contractual relationship with HPR has exposed the Council to unnecessary risk.
Although the reports author states in his final summary that, “It is unlikely that the award will be successfully challenged now, due to the passage of time from the probable date of the breach, ” he also leaves another legal door open within the body of the report, “under domestic law I suppose it is conceivable that somebody could attempt to judicially review the Isle of Wight Council but I think the time limits are difficult (although it could be argued that this matter has only just come into the public domain).”
The expense for the Council doesn’t end here. The report estimates that the “investigations set out in this report into both procurement and employment issues will be carried out by external advisers. It is not possible to estimate exactly how much this is likely to cost at this stage but is likely to be at least Ã‚£100,000. Any such cost will be contained within existing budgets.”
More details as we get them.