A blunder over awarding a contract to remove asbestos has cost Milton Keynes Council up to £600,000 in court costs and damages, the Citizen can reveal.
In a ‘Lessons Learned’ report for councillors’ eyes only, officers last week unveiled the true cost of the legal debacle.
And the report admits the council failed to protect taxpayers against this cost.
The Citizen reported exclusively last year how Bletchley company AA Woods launched a David and Goliath-style battle through the High Court when they lost the contract to remove old asbestos from council homes all over MK.
Woods claimed the council’s tender evaluation process had been unfair – and the judge agreed with them.
The council uses a point scoring process to decide its millions of pounds worth of tenders each year.
In this case, ruled the Judge, the points had been wrongly evaluated to award the new contract to a cheaper company.
The job involved removing the potentially-lethal fibres from homes built before the 1980s, when it was commonly used for insulation. It was also used in toilet cisterns, floor tiles and textured paints.
The asbestos removal contract in question was worth £8 million, the Citizen can reveal.
When angry Woods challenged their loss in court, the council decided to defend its position robustly.
The report admits this decision was made “without first thoroughly investigating and reviewing the scores awarded.”
It adds: “In doing so, the council failed to protect tax payers against a claim for costs and substantial legal costs.”