Follow us on Twitter

Are councillors allowed to see details of which companies/businesses to which a contract has been awarded?

0 votes
We award contracts 'blind' in that we never know who has tendered for a contract. This is fine, but we're not allowed to know who they are even after been awarded. Sometimes there appears to be just one firm that can offer their services, but we are not allowed to know who they are, or their website details, so impossible to do research of your own. This can be frustrating as you're not always sure what questions to ask, especially, as recently, it was for very technical and expensive equipment. We are given quotes, of course, before decisions are made. Is this common practice? Can a clerk refuse to give such information when requested? Are you allowed to see any invoice?
by (500 points)

5 Answers

0 votes
Best answer
Quotes should be brought to Council with company names redacted but they should all be given the chance to answer questions and quote to the same brief.  Once the Council has decided who to go with the company should be named as you are spending public money.  Surely someone sees the invoice otherwise how do you know the amount is correct and they need signing off, but that could be another can of worms
by (3.0k points)
selected by
I wonder if you could please explain why the names of those quoting should be redacted?
Everyone is then on the same playing field because some Councillors might have their favourite company / supplier but could be the most expensive, or in other cases Councillors could be quoting for work and it doesn’t show favouritism .  Quotes should be presented as Company A, Company B, etc.  But again once the Councillors decide who is awarded the contract they should be told
Agree with ParishCouncillor here.  We generally get to agree the specification/tender document before it goes out to tender and can suggest companies that it should be sent to but the names of the company tendering is redacted until a quotation is agreed.  Then, the name of the successful contractor is within the minutes.
+1 vote
That begs a question.  How can you and the other members of your council possibly vote in favour of accepting a quotation if you do not know who and what you are voting for?
by (3.1k points)
We're given financial details of suggested items but if you want anything else you have to email the Clerk, who will then seek an answer.  It can be painfully slow, and  annoyingly non- transparent. We're never allowed to research anything no matter what, under pain of death. Hard to believe, but there you are. Always told It's confidential. No-one else seems to mind.
Hi are you saying the clerk decided who gets the contract
+1 vote
Sounds like the tail Is wagging the dog.
by (1.7k points)
Many thanks for the comments. Cllrs do decide, but the info given to us is extracted from tenders, with the Clerk deciding what is relevant. Full stop. There are Cllrs who signs things off as correct, so maybe they see the original tenders.
As it happens I went on a finance course this morning and sneeked in a question about the one quote issue. I was told that they couldn't think of a reason for confidentiality and that I should insist on having full details to check that the company has no personal connection with the Clerk !
0 votes
The same happened at our meeting. Surely we should know who has quoted as we may want to award to a local business. Or we may be aware of bad workmanship. Too late when it is awarded. Surely that is why there is the declaration of interest to safeguard personal knowledge.  Why are cllrs not trusted and the clerk is.
by (410 points)
I don't think its about lack of trust but about ensuring all potential suppliers are considered on a level playing field.  You should be agreeing the specification for the tender process so you can ensure everyone is quoting for the same thing and can specify local suppliers only to be approached (we do exactly that).  We also suggest companies to be approached (although some might chose not to quote anyway), subject of course to any tendering issues for larger projects over £25K, so I feel we are in control but the actual quote is considered anonymously.  The successful bidder is certainly identified once the quote is agreed.
The clerk does not make decisions so is not involved in the process of considering the quotes but simply gathers the information and presents it in a clear way for a decision.
I can see where you are coming from but if we are getting quotes every year and we have a good  contractor surely it would make sense to know who are quoting as most parish councils like to keep someone tried and tested especially grass cutting.  We don't have contracts over 10K
+1 vote
Discussions relating to the awarding of contracts or tenders is one of the few legitimate reasons for closing the meeting to the press and public.  I do not redact the names of the companies who have submitted quotes but expect confidentiality to be maintained and any declarations of interest to be made.  You can't treat Councillors as kids and on the flip, they should behave with professionalism and integrity.
The only reason for redacting company names is if the council are only interested in the cheapest quote for the works.  We don't do that and in our financial regulations we reserve the right not to go for the cheapest quote but instead consider quality and reputation as well.  We all know the adage 'pay peanuts, get monkeys...'
by (19.1k points)

Welcome to Town & Parish Councillor Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers from other members of the community. All genuine questions and answers are welcome. Follow us on Twitter to see the latest questions as they are asked - click on the image button above or follow @TownCouncilQA. Posts from new members may be delayed as we are unfortunately obliged to check each one for spam. Spammers will be blacklisted.

You may find the following links useful:

We have a privacy policy and a cookie policy.

Google Analytics Alternative