Councillors take two minutes to decide tenders

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Bigwig Labour councillors are taking as little as TWO MINUTES to consider contracts worth millions of pounds, Tories have claimed.

Now, after a court exposed errors in one MK council tender, the Conservatives are demanding a review of all similar contracts awarded over the past year.

They also want the audit committee to investigate how the procurement councillors and officers are operating.

A Tory spokesman said: “We have been alarmed to find that the Labour-only cabinet procurement meetings rarely last more than 15 to 30 minutes – despite each contract under consideration costing taxpayers large sums of money.

“We examined eight meetings during which the committee approved at least 80 contracts. This equated to each contract being considered for an average of around two minutes.”

The procurement committee makes decisions about contracts worth up to a whopping £20 million.

Labour leader Pete Marland said Labour had ‘strengthened’ the council’s procurement system to include social value, apprenticeships and Living Wage conditions.

“We have strengthened procedures before meetings so that papers presented at meetings are as strong as can be. It meets in public and I can barely remember a Tory councillor attending, such is their ‘concern’,” he said.

“However we are not complacent. If the audit committee wish to look and make suggestions on procurement we would welcome their input. I’m confident they will see the work we’ve done.”

The council was taken to court this month by disgruntled Bletchley company Woods Building Services, who lost a major new contract to remove asbestos from council properties all over the borough.

Woods, the current contractor, claimed the points system used by the council to evaluate tenders was not correct.The company won its claim and the council was ordered to pay its legal costs of more than £100,000.

Mr Marland has requested an internal review of the case.

“We are disputing the costs awarded against us and will re-tender the contract soon,” he said.