Lib Dems call for contract scrutiny
PUBLISHED: 12:09 11 May 2006 | UPDATED: 13:27 04 May 2010
LIBERAL Democrats have called for the public scrutiny of a massive £250 million road building contract awarded for the next 10 years to a single contractor. The move comes after it was decided to hand out the single design and build contract, which will c
LIBERAL Democrats have called for the public scrutiny of a massive £250 million road building contract awarded for the next 10 years to a single contractor.
The move comes after it was decided to hand out the single design and build contract, which will cover all highway work throughout the county, to WS Atkins.
Cambridgeshire County Council cabinet members made their decision on just a two-page information document supplied by officers.
But Liberal Democrats want more details and called the issue back to the council's environment and transport services scrutiny committee yesterday afternoon (Wednesday).
County highways director Mark Kemp admitted he should have given councillors more information and not assumed they would remember the timeline of events leading up to the decision.
Cllr Alex Reid, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for environment and transport, said: "This is a huge contract, lasting 10 years and costing millions of pounds and so we should be examining it in detail out in the open.
"The information provided by the cabinet about the decision is extremely limited, just two pages long for an enormous contract. For a contract of this size, the public has a right to see how the decision is made."
Ely councillor Nigel Bell, environment and community services committee member, said: "Councillors receive a lot of complaints from residents about the poor quality and the cost of highways work. It is clearly of concern to everyone that the decision to award the contract for the next 10 years is carefully thought through.
"All aspects of this contract, apart from commercially sensitive information, should be publicly scrutinised, which is something that the cabinet has failed to do."
Mr Kemp said: "The final paper that went to cabinet was very short and I assumed that they would remember what had happened in the past in relation to this contract. That was a lesson for me.
"It could have been clearer and perhaps I should have given them a timeline of the decisions already made. They are absolutely right to call this in and make sure everyone is happy.
"I am confident that we can show the scrutiny committee that the officers have gone through the process in a rigorous and proper manner and that the cabinet made the proper decision.