Receiving Quotations - What is best practise?
Currently Officers insist that any quotation received is done so in confidential session. So classic example just prior to me joining is the Village Green needed a bench purchasing. Quite a bit of interest in what it would/should look like (because its near the historic village centre). He would not let the then members share said designs with public. So the public who were interested and wanted to help shape designs effectively found out when they walked back into room. They had specific expertise in said area. They looked at prices and the spec he had secured and final design and were horrified. As it transpired said bench has been the disaster they predicted... An expensive white elephant that wont last and looks totally out of place.
I understand why "tenders" (like grass cutting, hedge cutting) have to be considered in a confidential setting (protecting integrity of process) but does everything need to be? Id much rather involve community let the people using the things talk see and engage with process. Why design a park/village green without actually consulting people using the actual thing? Why cant village see the 3 different choices and listen to arguments why the then council choice it...? The "we know best" approach and hiding behind "commercial confidentiality" is making it almost inevitable that bad decisions are made and that any decision that is actually made is met with real scepticism... ("they must know them", "they cant possibly be that bad", "did they even look at design" etc)
My view is that the Parish Council have an obligation to consult. Should have had the designs published (online / noticeboards / meeting papers). People should be able to follow the process through and watch the debate and discussion. That what i want to see going forward. Heck i want people to feel comfortable enough to turn up and watch and say raise hand (we go out of session and let them speak). Ive seen it work well elsewhere...
My view is the more open the Council is going forward the quicker it can rebuild trust with the public (as its clear completely broken down).
- How does your Parish Council/Town Council strike balance between closed & open session?
- Can you consider quotes without referring to names of companies (A,B,C) and consider then in public?
- Should "Request for Quotations" (RFQs) be published as part of the meeting papers detailing specification of items/service required
- Should report from Officers detailing results of said RFQ be a meeting paper and publicly available.
- Should designs / product etc be able to view?