Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Care and Support Services tender - lessons to be learned?

Cast your mind back to the 27th October 2009 - well worth a quick re-read of my post of that day - and you'll recall that the 'Care and Support Services' tender was referred to the November 2009 Full Council mainly down to Green and Labour Councillors not being willing to agree to a deeply-flawed report ...

... this all ultimately led to the whole process being abandoned, and in February 2010 (by which time - to their credit - the local Tories had seen sense) to a complete climbdown over the whole fiasco.

Well, the first of the 'lessons learned' reports is out tomorrow - it's going to the Policy and Strategy Committee on Tuesday 8th June - and I can safely predict serious fireworks over its conclusions.

Just keep one, very public statement in mind:

"I have said all along that we have a good robust tendering process that has been cleared by the lawyers at every stage."

What would you then think if the report out tomorrow concluded that:

"Legal Services did not have a role in the tender process, in the evaluation of tenders, nor as advisor to the Team or to the Board."

And further still, if the report out tomorrow also concluded:

"The Convenor of the Health, Housing and Social Care Committee was regularly briefed throughout the process."

Just what possible conclusion could you come to - that Officers where to blame?

I think not.


Anonymous said...

Well they might be to blame if Eadie had been told that the lawyers were in board. The size of the fiasco points up to a departmental failing, for which accountablity must be sought atv all levels appropriate to scope of role, surely? Ultimately, Eadie is responsible for his brief, but I would not like to see a scalp claimed here but a root and branch reform of procurement and a re examination of the reeived wisdom of provider lead purchasing. The senior officers created the strategy, they must bear some responsibility for the harm done and distress caused, not just to the people who use the service and their families, but to the culture of voluntary sector in Edinburgh. Providers are in a race to the bottom as they ape the language of the private sector that Eadie's mob seem to be in thrall of.

Andrew said...


Thanks for the comment - all fair points, and I particularly accept your desire to see a root and branch reform of procurement practice ...

... this seems all the more urgent to me, given that the Council could be about to outsource thousands of jobs as part of the so-called 'Alternative Business Model (ABM) Programme'?

There's also - I accept - a lesson in all of this for the 'Parties in Opposition', in that we really need to constantly (and very carefully) scrutinse every detail of what's about to be done in the Council's name with the ABM programme.


Disabled Person said...

Having read the report, I think that Councillor Edie should resign, as should Director Mark Turley. I was in the full council meeting, representing some of the service users who had been refused Direct Payments and were being forced to change service provider. I heard Cllr Edie and Mark Turley defend the procurement team and the process again and again. Cllr Edie kept saying the outcome was based 70% on quality and 30% on price. We all knew that wasn't true. I have never known a local authority to mess up so badly and yet no one in a senior position has taken responsibility and resigned. It has ruined City of Edinburgh Council's reputation in terms of commissioning of care services, in the eyes of the whole voluntary sector, amongst MSPs in the Scottish Parliament and in the views of disabled people here in Edinburgh. Shame on those who are refusing to take the blame and resign with dignity!

Andrew said...


Very much agree with your last comment --- I doubt if anyone will fall on their sword though :-(

There is no question this whole episode has seriously damaged the standing of the Council.