The Council will be discussing this latest scandal at its full Council meeting on the 21st of April and the full report can be found here. (item 6g)
The report outlines the sorry history of the letting of a major buildings and maintenance contract to a company called Carillion Services Limited. It is by no means complete, it seems that no one yet has been interviewed and key documents are not available for viewing. It talks about minutes of crucial meetings not being available from key meetings, nor can they even find the original signed version of the document! This is "mother" of all scandals and should blow the Tory's clear out their blue water comfort zone
But don't just take my word for it have a look below at the QC's opinion given when asked for his advice by the monitoring officer, together with just a few lines from the monitoring officers report:
"In reviewing the financial effectiveness of the Contract, it was discovered that the Council had possibly entered into a contract with the Contractor on 22nd January 2007 without Cabinet approval and with no properly authorised delegation to the relevant officers to enter such a contract (contract was signed by the Contractor on 22nd January). Advice was sought, therefore, from Richard Clayton QC and Marion Smith (Counsel) as to whether the contract was unawful and Richard Clayton QC confirmed that, in his opinion, it was ultra vires, i.e. unlawful."
"The Council has been unable to identify any record which would identify a proper line of delegated authority in relation to the award of the contract or any delegation which would justify any Cabinet Member or named officer in taking a decision to award the contract."
"Counsel have advised that, whilst the issue is ultimately one for the courts and will depend on the facts as found by the courts, their view is that the Council did not have the capacity in their opinion to enter into the contract and that the agreement is therefore ultra vires, i.e. unlawful."
"Counsel advised that in their opinion there has been a failure to comply with the procurement regime set out in the Public Contracts Regulations 2006."
"It is also apparent that no records are kept of relevant delegations to officers and members and there is a lack of clarity about whether decision makers have the authority of the Council when making such decisions."
Proof positive (if any more was needed) that our County Council which only bothers to meet quarterly, is not run through the democratic process as laid down by law but by officers who collude with individual Councillors from the ruling party to spend your money and enter into multi million pound agreements without most of the Council being involved or able to speak or vote for or against them.
Of course the full report and outcome of the investigation won't be available until after the County Council elections and already you can see the ease at which "Former employees" and "individuals" will be being prepared to be hung out to dry.
But it is not simply the fault of individuals, it is the fault of the whole system and whilst resignations may be called for, and should be answered, the real problem "The County Council" itself will still remain.
The sooner we are rid of this unaccountable shire circus the better. I am considering standing in June's County Council Election. If I do I will make no secret of my view that the best thing we can do with the County Council is to abolish it, and restore unitary local government in Northampton.
Anyone with the patience to read through the report linked to above will understand fully why.
Click anywhere to cancel