Council to procure multi-million-pound waste contract, despite concerns over vote
PUBLISHED: 10:24 26 August 2020 | UPDATED: 10:24 26 August 2020
A Norfolk council agreed to make just three people responsible for procuring a multi-million-pound waste services contract, despite concerns from officers about the way the decision was taken.
Broadland Council voted to offer out its waste services and street cleansing contract for companies to bid for, after rejecting plans to set up its own firm to do the work.
And councillors have agreed to delegate the procurement exercise - up until the contract is awarded - to two councillors and one officer.
The vote comes after opposition councillors demanded the plans be decided at a full council meeting - meaning every elected councillor would get the chance to have a say.
At the cabinet meeting, held on Tuesday, August 25, Broadland councillors agreed to commence the procurement exercise, in the face of repeated opposition by members of council staff.
Judy Leggett, portfolio holder for environmental excellence, told councillors the environmental panel had considered the plans to form a local authority trading company but instead unanimously endorsed the procurement option.
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Council leader Shaun Vincent moved to a vote before councillors discussed the issue in the private section of the meeting.
But monitoring officer Emma Hodds told the meeting she was “very uncomfortable” with how the decision was being made.
“It’s not often I will play my officer card,” she said. “I’m very uncomfortable with the way this is being decided. We haven’t had robust discussion around this.”
And Conservative councillor Lana Hempsall said she was not able to vote on the motion as she did not fully understand what Ms Hodds’ concerns were.
“I’ve never experienced her putting these through within the meeting,” she said. “That’s why her concerns do ring alarm bells.”
But Mr Vincent insisted Ms Hodds had been included in the planning around when the vote should be taken at the meeting, and said: “She was involved in how we wanted to take our vote, and we are now taking that vote.”
Six councillors voted in favour of procuring the waste contract, while Ms Hempnall abstained.
And speaking after the meeting, Liberal Democrat group leader Dan Roper said: “Regardless of the decision made, it should have been one where every councillor for every community had a voice and a vote.”
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