Dispute over council contract delay

Enfield Civic Centre

Conservatives call for investigation into expired contract left to run for six years without renewal, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Opposition councillors have called for an investigation after an Enfield Council contract was left to run six years beyond its original expiry date.

Conservative group leader Joanne Laban said it was “negligent” to allow the deal to run for so long, as the council should regularly explore whether taxpayers are getting value for money from contracts.

Council contracts must go through a competitive process to run services in order to get value for money and good quality, the Conservatives said.

But a deal with Knight Frank for the management of a rural Green Belt estate that was due to run from 2009 to 2013 was left to roll until 2019 before the next competitive tender process started.

Cllr Laban said: “I am appalled at the sheer level of incompetence shown with this contract. It is in my opinion negligent to allow any contract to roll on for six years before another procurement process takes place. I am only glad that last year the procurement process was completed.

“However, it calls into question what other contracts have been left to roll. I am calling on Enfield’s Labour administration to carry out a full investigation into whether there are any other council contracts that have just been left to drift for many years.”

Cllr Laban called for an explanation of why the contract was allowed to roll on for so long in questions to a full council meeting in March. Cabinet member for finance and procurement Mary Maguire responded: “The current director of property and economy joined the organisation in late 2018, and I took over portfolio responsibility for property services in May 2019.

“Action has been taken to regularise the position and Knight Frank are now on a new contract procured through a framework tender.”

An Enfield Council spokesperson said: “The council has over 4,000 suppliers and continually reviews its practices to ensure we deliver value for money.”