To note report SD.88 from the Head of Paid Services relating to procurement.
Cllr Robinson introduced report SD.88 and asked the Head of Paid Service to present the detail, since it was a factual report relating to operational matters.
The Head of Paid Service said that the report attempted to give background detail to inform any subsequent scrutiny inquiry. It outlined how the council supported and guided officers and businesses in relation to procurement. She highlighted the following:
Cllr Smart asked if all authorised officers had completed the required training in procurement.
The Group Manager for Finance and Property replied that almost all had undergone the training and the remaining few officers would be 'mopped up' in the sessions planned to reinforce the new contract procedure rules.
Cllr Winship asked about spot checks and a system for identifying tendering companies with a suspicious history.
The Group Manager for Finance and Property explained that the internal audit team picked up individual procurement issues during planned audits, and he discussed with the internal auditors any service areas needing inspection. He said that one benefit of being in the SWAP audit partnership was that members received regular updates on fraud identification techniques and quickly learned of individual companies. The Head of Paid Service added that the council's fraud register picked up suspected frauds and was regularly checked by the Audit Committee chairman.
Cllr Pugh stated that systems such as Agresso included information on suppliers. He asked if there had been any glitches in introducing the system and if there were a specific target for savings
The Head of Paid Service confirmed that as the first site to go live there had been issues around using the system and aspects of the system itself. There were still areas being worked on. The use of Agresso had entailed a big learning curve and officers had undergone a lot of training and knowledge sharing. She gave invoicing as an example, which had previously been done by a team, but in Agresso was self-service. The council was providing officers with constant updates to avoid 'work-arounds'. Ultimately the council would be several months ahead of other GO partners. She confirmed that the projected annual saving was over £100,000.
Cllr Evans thanked the Head of Paid Service for the useful background report. The project was about working together to a common purpose. His request for an inquiry was based on matters raised at the Audit Committee and observations from a cabinet member, which suggested further questions.
Cllr Burford suggested that the inquiry into procurement follow the GO Shared Services Inquiry, assuming a short Voluntary Services Funding Inquiry during the summer. The committee agreed.