Maldon Town Council to discuss processing quotes amid concerns over transparency

  Posted: 09.11.21 at 14:45 by Charlotte Lillywhite

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Maldon Town Council is set to discuss how it assesses financial quotes from its contractors, after members raised concerns about the transparency of the process.

Members of the environment committee came to the decision in a meeting last night (Monday 8 November), during a discussion of the town council’s environment action plan.

The councillors were meant to decide which quotes to approve for works to be done in the town, as part of the plan, but raised concerns about the way in which the quotes had been presented.

While the council usually presents quotes to members with details of the contractors and proposed works included, this information had been removed from the quotes councillors were set to discuss.

Councillor Andrew Lay said the removal of this information would make the committee’s decisions “more closed” and “like a gameshow”.

He said: “I think we should be as open as possible as to what we’re doing with public money.”

Councillor Martin Harvey added: “As a buyer, I’ve been taught never to make a price decision.”

He continued: “I’m not going to be involved in anything like that with public money.”

Members also said the removal of the information on quotes would mean the process was different across committees.

Councillor Lay said: “I think we should have a standard process across all our committees - a standard, transparent process for all councillors to have the same information when making decisions with public money.”

He said discussing contractors had led to “some great and transparent discussions” during meetings, and added: “Are we striving to fix a problem that isn’t there?”

Members agreed that presenting quotes in a different format would be a change in process which would need to be discussed by the full council.

Councillor Kevin Lagan proposed that councillors not accept the quotes in the environment action plan they were set to discuss, and take the issue “to full council for discussion”.

This was unanimously voted through by members.

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