Agenda item

Contract Management

Report to follow (please check above to see if it has already been published)

Minutes:

The Interim Head of Procurement introduced the report and explained that it was to provide Members with an update on activity to make improvements to the Council’s overall approach to contract management.  He said that that the Council had an electronic tendering system known as Due North in place.  This system was well known and well used by other local authorities (LAs).  It includes a contract register and documents can be up-loaded directly to it.  However it was said to be a rather rudimentary depository.  For example it didn’t include a number of features such ‘key contract milestones’ and its functionality as a system wasn’t as good as was required.  Officers referred to point 2.13 of the report that described how many other LAs used the Due North system.

 

Officers said there were plans in place to review the system and build in functionality and there was a cultural push within the organisation to improve on the current situation.

 

Members asked the following questions:

  • It was said that the information provided hadn’t really explained where they expected to be in 3 months’ time.  There would be review in spring but what did that really mean?
    • Officers said that by that point they will have calculated the required functionality of a system and will then make recommendations about which system to purchase.
  • It was asked if other LAs were using this system and were audited internally would their results be the same as this Council’s were.
    •  Officers said it was unlikely they would be dissimilar because it is not a whole system answer to contract management. 
  • Was it worth considering plans for economy of scale with other LAs? 
    • Yes officers said they there was a South West Procurement Board with whom this would be discussed.
  • Could the Council write the new software and earn income from letting others use it?
    • Officers referred to 2.10 of the published report and the complexities of the software.

 

A brief discussion was had about how key dates were diarised.  Officers said that often they had to be done manually.  One Member said there was possibly some confusion about whether the Council’s Internal Audit Team understood this was being done and they may have assumed this wasn’t been being done. 

 

The Director of Finance added that they also needed to be satisfied that any new system solution would be  compliant with the IT Transformation Plan (ITTP) and will align to other solutions and ‘key performance Indicator’ (KPI) monitoring.  These things all needed to be in order before it can it move forward. 

 

Also noted was the Devolved Contract Management Function; there were areas of Good Practice and areas of improvement to be made too.  However, it was important not to move away from the good practice that was already in place. 

 

Members asked about BREXIT and EU procurement regulations.  Officers said that when it happened the only initial change will be that the Council registers and posts on a UK based portal and not EU portal. 

 

Members asked to be kept informed of further developments and thanked the officers for their time and said they appreciated the enormity of the task ahead. 

 

ACTION: Members to be kept informed of further developments.  

 

Supporting documents: