||Request to Call-In an Executive Decision
The Chairman advised members of the procedure to be followed in
considering a Call-In request, and invited the councillors
presenting the request, Councillors Nannestad and Smith, to
speak to the Committee regarding it.
Councillor Smith outlined her concerns relating to the decision by
Executive regarding the Community Services Contract [minute no.
165], focusing upon the value for money offered by the contract and
the services incorporated within it. The grounds for Call-In were
explained to be that the decision could not be justified and was
open to challenge on the basis of the evidence considered. It was
noted that concessions had previously been achieved following
recommendations from the Policy Scrutiny Committee, and, given the
value of the contract, further comparatively small concessions
ought to have been achieved with regard to the Assisted Bulky
Councillor Nannestad supported the points put forward by Councillor
Smith, similarly noting concerns regarding potentially increased
amounts of fly-tipping and the administrative burden relating to
limiting eligibility for a free Assisted Bulky Collections
The Chairman invited members to question the councillors who had
requested the Call-In.
- questioned what the cost of providing eligibility testing would
be in comparison to providing a universal service.
- questioned whether the proposing councillors understood which
party would bear any additional costs in relation to fly-tipping or
checking residents' eligibility for services, and noted that the
terms offered by the contractor could not be dictated.
- noted that the Council was a paying customer, and so should
play an active role in negotiating amenable terms.
- discussed whether any additional costs would be payable by the
Council with regard to fly-tipping under the proposed terms, noting
that if more than a certain amount of work were undertaken
in a given time period additional costs would be incurred by
- questioned whether any additional figures were available
regarding the number of persons who would be eligible for the free
Assisted Bulky Collections service.
- questioned whether previous concessions on the contract had
resolved the councillors' concerns with regard to the volume of
The members requesting the Call-In responded that:
- no additional information had been made available to them with
regard to members' questions, and noted that an informed decision
could not have been made without this information.
- previous concessions with regard to fly-tipping had improved
the situation to a degree.
- proving that a person met the eligibility criteria for the free
Assisted Bulky Collections service would be administratively
The Chairman invited the relevant Executive member to resolve
any matters requiring clarification.
Councillor D. Grice, Portfolio Holder for Corporate Management:
- explained that he was the accountable member of Executive with
regard to the requested Call-In, given his responsibility for the
tendering process and the service review process.
- noted that the fly-tipping service could not be subject to any
- stated that the councillors requesting the Call-In had made
reference to value for money, but had not adequately explained how
the contract failed to meet the key objectives in determining
whether a service offered good value for money.
- explained that the 2006 tendering process had been a thorough
and expensive process.
The Chairman invited members to question the Councillor
- questioned whether Councillor Grice was satisfied that the cost
of administering an eligibility scheme would not be greater than
allowing a universal Assisted Bulky Collections service.
- stated that it was necessary for members to be properly
informed as to why a re-tendering exercise had not taken place,
acknowledging that the decision could be correct but ought to be
demonstrated to be so.
- drew attention to paragraph 4.6 of the report to Executive,
noting that it would appear that the cost of administering any
eligibility scheme would be the Council's, rather than the
contractor's, and questioned whether a shift in responsibility
could be negotiated with the contractor.
- questioned whether the contract negotiated represented the best
available to the Council.
- questioned whether it had been anticipated that a reduction in
costs would be possible given inflationary pressures since agreeing
the original contract.
Councillor Grice responded that:
- the administration of the Assisted Bulky Collections service
would not cause any additional cost for the Council.
- the judgement as to whether re-tendering would be beneficial
was subjective, but when considering the associated costs for all
parties and the disincentives to the existing contractor, a higher
cost to the Council was possible. High satisfaction levels with the
current contractor were also to be noted.
- priorities in the negotiations had been achieved by the
Council, but that there would always be a point at which no
further concessions could be granted, and discussions could have
been jeopardised if pushed further.
- early discussions with other providers and with adjoining local
authorities had established that the contract represented the best
- higher costs for the contractor had not been reflected in the
original contract and that most recently proposed. This was
particularly true in relation to increased fuel costs.
The Head of Community Services, Leisure and Sport confirmed, at
members' request, that the administrative process for confirming
residents' eligibility for services could be accommodated within
existing structures and budgets without additional cost.
Having considered the information provided to it, members voted
upon the determination of the request for Call-In.
RESOLVED that the Call-In request be refused.