People’s Audit raises questions over Fenwick Estate contract

Lambeth People’s Audit – a group of residents using statutory powers to examine local authority finances – have written to Lambeth Council’s chief executive raising serious concerns over the tendering process used to award the contract to oversee regeneration of Fenwick Estate in Clapham.

A response to a Freedom of Information request by the People’s Audit, has revealed that the initial award of the contract to Mace Ltd was the second highest of four tenders received – and nearly £8 million higher than the council had originally anticipated.

The council reversed its decision to award the contract to Mace in July 2017 – after a legal challenge by rival company Karakusevic-Carson Architects. Now Lambeth Council has provided the figures on which the initial decision to award the contact to Mace was made.

They reveal that Mace’s tender was the second most expensive of the four made. The Mace tender of £12,919,600 was £5,589,665 higher than Karakusevic-Carson’s and £729,204 higher than the second lowest tenderer of Mott Macdonald.

The People’s Audit has also discovered that costs of terminating this initial procurement process are estimated to be £100,000, with £84,000 of this being spent on legal advice alone.

Read 4-page report: Fenwick Estate Procurement-Final

Simon Morrow, co-ordinator of Lambeth People’s Audit, said:

“These figures raise some serious questions about how the original decision to award the contract to Mace was made. It beggars belief that a bid more than £5m higher than one of its rivals could have provided outstandingly better value for money for council tax-payers.

“With so many multi-million pounds contracts currently being awarded to consultants by Lambeth Council for its estate regeneration programme, it is essential that people can have confidence in councillors and officers making decisions that stand up to scrutiny. From the information now available, this appears not to be the case for Fenwick estate – and councillors representing the people of Lambeth should be taking urgent action to ensure the integrity of its tendering processes.”

Read 4-page report: Fenwick Estate Procurement-Final

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