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0 votes
Park entrance: Confirmation now received that gate is fully operational to seek ratification to accept quote from *********** in the sum of £645 plus VAT to concrete pad beneath gate, to make good muddy ground below.

(I've removed name of contractor from this post)
by (640 points)

5 Answers

0 votes
Can you please clarify what advice you are looking for
by (10.1k points)
I suppose want to know how others read the agenda item - is it a discussion about the cost, or is it simply to agree to accept the quote?
On face value a) to note that the broken gate has been fixed and b) to pay the contractor for fixing it.
It is oddly worded but I read it as the gate has been repaired and presumably paid for but additional work is required to concrete the surface underneath for which the Councillors need to agree a price
It’s nice to see a report back about repair work as quite often Councils just pass motions and don’t get told when the work has been carried out
Agree poorly worded.  The use of the word ratification implies a decision taken before the meeting.  Whether the decision is valid is dependent upon the reason why.  A health and safety issue could require urgent attention but as sometimes happens someone has made a decision which they were not authorised to make so there is an attempt here to put this right by ratifying the decision.
0 votes
Badly worded, the operational gate remark should have been made in matters arising from previous meeting. Should say Park entrance: To consider quote of £645 to concrete pad etc. Current wording suggests Clerk has decided it should be accepted.
by (35.4k points)
There should be no agenda item "matters arising"!
In that case how do you word an agenda item for the status of actions, resolutions, responses to requests etc? Separate items for all
0 votes
Yes, it lacks enough clarity for a reasonable resident (or Councillor) to understand what might be decided.
by (1.3k points)
0 votes
The request is to a agree a legally binding act, which agreeing a contractor price is.  So I think its OK, if that is just the issue.
by (2.5k points)
+1 vote
What do your financial regulations say? Should you be looking at three estimates? If the Clerk has provided only one, is there a valid reason for this? Can you be certain that £645 represents a fair price for the job? All members and officers are responsible for obtaining value for money at all times.
by (53.3k points)
Dave that’s interesting because not all that long ago I was at a Council meeting where it was claimed that it was the Clerks responsibility to get Value for Money as it was written in their contract To be honest I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry
Oh the irony . I am going through a similar battle royale but mine is a public right of way. It does pose an interesting question about what should or should not go on agendas as I always understood meetings were about making decisions.  But I guess that is a whole different subject
I don't usually disagree with Davetheclerk but in this instance it doesn't automatically follow that work for £645 requires three quotes.  Our financial regulations state that for less than £1,000 the clerk should attempt to get competitive quotes but sometimes it follows that people don't quote.  Provided there's been an attempt, that's sufficient.  Got to say, however, that the wording of the agenda item doesn't suggest that, does it?  The use of the word ratification is the key in my opinion.  It implies someone (and believe me, it's not always the clerk!) has made a unilateral decision.  If made under delegated powers (which might apply, if there's a scheme of delegation in place), I'd expect to see a report to explain what decisions have been made under those powers but ratification implies no delegation.
Indeed, the model FR requires the Clerk to strive to obtain three estimates, but we're talking about a concrete pad in a gateway, not carving a scale model of the Taj Mahal out of a walrus tusk! In my little parish of 700 people, I'd be confident of obtaining half a dozen quotes for this, so offering only one suggests that the Clerk may not have gone beyond his or her preferred contractor.
I know it’s a comment not an answer but I’m currently in dispute with my PC which agreed a £10,000 construction contract without tender
Their  reasoning appears to be that they budgeted for £10,000 so what’s the problem
Of course this is contrary to the Financial Regs but hey so what !
I'd like to believe that both internal and external auditors would step in on that one, but am I being too optimistic?
In my experience the external auditor usually copies and pastes the PC's reply.  It is indeed of "limited assurance".
The Internal Audit Report in the annual return requires the auditor to certify a number of internal control objectives, the second of which states "This authority complied with its financial regulations..." This is clearly untrue for you, so the auditor should be provided with the necessary information to enable a negative response. If such a response is not forthcoming, you should notify the external auditor of the failings of both the council and the internal auditor.

As an aside, was the budgetary provision of £10k in the public domain before the contractor quoted? I've seen several councils fall into this trap of reporting grants received and budgetary provisions for projects before a tendering exercise. My local village hall is being redecorated next week and the agreed price is several hundred pounds higher than I was expecting. I've since been told that the committee member who showed the potential contractors around the building told them that we weren't expecting to get much change out of three grand. By an extraordinary coincidence, the quotes came in at three grand!

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