We reported in February that the York Council had let social care contracts worth over £1.3 million pa. We questioned then whether the contracts had been properly advertised, whether they represented value for money and how their success would be monitored.
In a Freedom of Information response, the Council has sought to justify its actions
The number of tenders – advertised through Yortender & OJEU – received for each contract was low.
The details are:
- Supported Lodgings – 1 tender. Awarded to Safe and Sound Homes (SASH).
- Family Support – 4 tenders. Awarded to The Cyrenians (Community Links) This contract is worth £480,000 over 3 years
- Older People and People with Physical Disabilities – 3 tenders. Awarded to Yorkshire Housing Ltd.
In total the tenders are worth £6.6 million over a period of 5 years.
The Council has declined to indicate the value of the individual tenders it received.
All contracts were awarded on 15th September 2016 according to the contracts register. However, the decisions were only published in February 2017 (after the contracts had started). The Council itself says that the contracts were awarded, under delegated authority, by Council officials. The was no member involvement after the Executive meeting on 28th April 2016. The Council claims the awards were decided on the following dates
a) 28th Aug 2016
b) 6th January 2017
c) 15th September 2016
It declines to say why the decisions were not recorded in the decisions register until as long as 4 months later.
It has also declined to make available the minutes of any bodies which considered the contracts nor will it say to which publicly accountable body the outputs against target will be reported.
The required outcomes, for two of the contracts, are expressed only in very general terms. They are more specific for the family support contract (see below)
Contrary to the impression given at the Council’s Executive meeting, the potential service providers were apparently not required to provide their “vision” for the service and its customers.