Council admits to mistakes with rail project tender

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The leader of Milton Keynes Council has admitted that lessons need to be learned after the failed tender process for Wolverton Station which over spent by £725,000.

Councillor Andrew Geary said that providing value for money to taxpayers was the council’s priority following the flawed decision made back in April 2011.

Mr Geary said: “The major weakness in the Wolverton Station project was the decision to let the construction contract on the basis of a truncated and questionable tender process, during which the scope of the contract was artificially reduced.

“Since then the council has adopted new arrangements for taking procurement decisions worth more than £100,000 which means that all such decisions are taken openly and transparently so they can be subject to challenge and scrutiny at the time; and it is extremely unlikely that any similarly flawed contract would be awarded under these circumstances.”

Milton Keynes Council’s Audit Committee reviewed the project on April 10 finding a number of weaknesses.

It asked for comments from three former council officers identified in the report, with replies from two referring to the considerable pressure of work they and their colleagues had in taking on a number of complex projects.

Ward councillor for Wolverton and Labour leader, Peter Marland, has been seeking answers on the subject for the last two years.

He said: “Wolverton station was a project doomed from the start to run over time and over budget.

“When I asked why I was at first ignored, then patronised and only when the disaster couldn’t get much bigger, some sort of action was taken.”