If any local authority is considering disposing of land in order to generate income in today’s economically challenging times, the second public interest report issued by the auditor under section 8 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 into Uttoxeter Town Council’s sale of land, is a salutary lesson on how not to proceed.
Regular opinion pieces on issues of interest to public sector lawyers from Practical Law Public Sector and leading commentators.
Archive for November, 2010
PLC Public Sector reports:
Edward Davey, Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs, has confirmed that, following Francis Maude’s statement that the government is minded to abolish the Code of Practice on Workforce Matters in public sector service contracts, the government has sought the views of interested parties with a view to taking such a step.
What does this mean for public authorities? Can they take action now?
As if the Government did not have enough to cope with in House of Lords management as a result of the debate over the constitutional propriety of the Public Bodies Bill (see Opinion, Public Bodies Bill sparks constitutional debate) they have now run into more trouble of a similar kind. Having whipped and guillotined the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill through the Commons, they might have hoped that it would have picked up sufficient momentum to make relatively trouble-free progress through the Lords as well. Any hopes of that will by now have been thoroughly dashed.
Daniel Greenberg, PLC consultant:
The coalition government undertook early on to make a major cull of non-departmental public bodies, with a view both to saving money and simplifying public administration. The first serious step towards achieving that aim was the introduction into the House of Lords of the Public Bodies Bill on 28 October 2010.
In advance of the Second Reading of the Bill on 9 November the House of Lords’ Constitution Committee published its report on the Bill on 4 November. The report is short but sharp, and promises to be only the first shot in what the Committee clearly intends to make something of a constitutional battle (“The Committee will closely monitor the progress of the Bill and may report again to the House.” (para.15)).
A new standard pre-qualification questionnaire that must be used by all central government departments by December 2010 (with a promise of roll-out to the whole of the public sector), a review solving all of the causes of delay in the procurement process (also to report in December 2010) and a new contract finder system to be launched in March 2011. All this in addition to creating a new type of framework agreement that does not lock suppliers out of the supply chain (sensibly no delivery date offered for this goal). All of these steps have been proposed by the government to improve SME access to public procurement opportunities.
Is this a new dawn for public procurement where smaller suppliers prosper and the government also buys more for less?