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Amey V Herefordshire Council


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The following could be a worry for the Council if it wasn't for the fact that the Council have appointed Geoff Hughes as project Director? Nothing to worry about he will gather up the usual suspects responsible for the **** up in the first place and they are sure to **** it up all over again! Why because they are ****ing up thinks on a day to day basis!

 

What exactly does it take to trigger a public enquiry? I am confused as to why the auditors haven't been looking into this?

 

 

http://www.herefordtimes.com/news/11823873.__40_million_legal_dispute_loss_could__finish__Herefordshire_Council___claim/

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From Herefordshire Council News - 27 February 2015

 
In the decade to August 2013 a wide range of ‘streetscene’ (highways and public spaces), building maintenance, catering and other ancillary services were delivered through a contract latterly held by Amey Wye Valley Ltd. Over that period the contract value exceeded £200m.
 
With all its contracts, Herefordshire Council expects to pay the contracted fair rate for the services provided in return we expect those services to be performed to the contracted specification. Such concerns are notified to the contractor at the point they become known to the council.
 
During the course of any contract areas of disagreement may arise and when this occurs the council seeks to find an acceptable way forward.
 
At the end of the Amey contract a number of disagreements remained unresolved.
 
The council has sought to reach a fair negotiated settlement with Amey but have been unable to reach agreement. In January Amey took the step of referring four areas of dispute to a formal adjudication process.
 
The adjudicators have now issued their rulings on these four matters. The adjudicators have ruled in favour of Amey in respect of two issues on the grounds that a notice issued by the council, which identified the sum to be withheld from payment on performance grounds, had not been served in the correct form. Of the remaining two issues one was again in relation to the correct service of a withholding notice, which was found to have been correctly served. The final matter was the single highest value dispute. It related to the calculation of the annual inflationary uplift applied to the contract. The adjudicator found in the council’s favour.
 
The council is satisfied that the rulings of the adjudicators have recognised the validity of the council’s position in this matter. The council will seek a constructive dialogue with Amey with a view to resolving the remaining outstanding disputes.
 
The council will make no further comment at this stage given these further negotiations and the potential for legal action.

 

So to date it is Council 2 Amey 2. However I can see this running into extra time, and I doubt those responsible for this cock up will be sent off. It will be interesting to see if the next big match Council v Balfour Beatty will give us the same jitters. The match programme can be viewed here.

Edited by megilleland
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"the sum to be withheld from payment on performance grounds, had not been served in the correct form."

 

So our very highly paid senior officers, presumably from the legal team, failed to serve notice in the correct form and thus lost one of the claims - but aren't these officers so highly paid because we have to pay for the best?

 

I seem to recall a much trumpeted £1m a year saving when this privatisation was foisted upon us at the start of the 10 year period. So, a (possible) £10m saving is rounded out with a possible £40m counter-claim - at the very least, legal fees will wipe out any saving that was made by this catastrophic error by councillors. Seems like the only winner was the officer who set it all up and walked away with £0.25m.

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Bang on again twowheels. Dodgy contracts, PFI schemes, back room deals all aided and abetted by high level executives, and central government through common purpose to destroy local democracy and transfer power and decision making to those outside the county ie LEPs, private corporate businesses and the third sector. £40 million employing local labour would keep the money in Herefordshire and not on some offshore island in the Caribbean.

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Which brings us back again to Council Math.

 

We know the figures don't add up.

 

Yet they will be fudged, manipulated and spun to be sold as another money saving exercise...... which ends up actually costing us more.

 

Will whoever made such costly errors in the legal department be held accountable for their  mistakes?

 

I somehow doubt it.

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I'm afraid I don't know either, Flam! From reading the reports, your simplified version of events is the crux of the problem.

 

I suppose if the council requested that work was done, and Amey claim they never received these requests, then something, somewhere has gone wrong, communication wise.

 

Couldn't be anything to do with the now infamous I.T system that was imposed could it?

 

The one which was so forcibly  foisted upon  the customer services department , and whose implementation was central to the bullying and whistle blowing scandal??

 

There wouldn't be a link there would there? Or am I letting my imagination getting carried away!

 

Very probably... ignore me and my over active mind!

Edited by dippyhippy
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The Chief Executive has out in an appearance but only to 'GAGG' Councillors form criticising! When will Public Authorities stop using bully boy tactics to avoid transparency?

 

http://www.herefordtimes.com/news/11827471.Council_chief_executive_warns_opposition_group_leaders_against_speaking_out_over_the___40m_contract_dispute_with_Amey/

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Worth reproducing this in full.

2nd March 2015
Hereford Times News by Bill Tanner, Senior Reporter
 
 
HEREFORDSHIRE Council’s opposition political group leaders have been told not to make any further comment on the authority’s £40 million legal dispute with former major contract partner Amey.
 
The Hereford Times has learned of an e-mail sent to the group leaders by council chief executive Alistair Neill advising them against making further comment on the dispute based on the “understanding†of an agreement not to speak at all reached at a recent briefing.
 
Group leaders councillors Terry James (Lib-Dem), Anthony Powers (It’s Our County) and Bob Matthews (Independent) last week all responded to questions from the Hereford Times about the dispute.
 
The Hereford Times had revealed that up to £40 million could be at stake in the “complex†stand-off between the council and Amey.
 
Subsequently, the council attacked the Hereford Times coverage in an e-mail sent from Mr Neill to all councillors - most of whom had been unaware of the issue until the story broke.
 
Challenged on its attack, the council struck a more conciliatory tone in a statement on the dispute that that outlined an optimistic take on its eventual resolution.
 
Cllr James told the Hereford Times the authority remained at “grave risk†over the dispute which had the potential to “finish†the council – with its £215 million and rising borrowing debt - given the sums involved.
 
Private sector partnerships had, said Cllr James, been “disastrous†for the council.
 
“We’re paying more in legal costs than we’re spending on services,†he said.
 
Independent group leader Cllr Bob Matthews said group leaders had been assured that the council had a “firm caseâ€.
 
“But if not, we’ve got a serious worry,†he said.
 
Cllr Anthony Powers, leader of It's Our County, echoed fears that an adverse adjudication could finish the council.
 
"Clearly this is a massive risk. If the findings go against us I don't have any assurances as to how that will be dealt with," he said.
 
The Hereford Times understands that two disputed items alone could be worth up to £30 million.
 
Other claims could take the total at stake to around £40 million.
 
The disputes are understood to stem from a contract variation made in 2010.
 
Amey broke off long-running negotiations with the council last month to take the dispute to Adjudication.
 
If the council is adjudicated against to the fullest extent, it could ask government to capitalise the sum - allowing for borrowing
 
A decision made last week -  without reference to a committee in public – allows the council to draw on its £3.5 million risk mitigation reserve to protect related rights and interests.
 
That decision also allows for the council to appoint specialist professional, legal and technical support without going to tender.
 
The decision could be called in by scrutiny, but this is thought unlikely given the existing scrutiny workload ahead of the May election.
 
The council is not outlining the extent of issues or sums involved saying such information is exempt under the Local Government Act 1972 and could be subject of a claim to “legal professional privilegeâ€.
 
At issue are the contracts the council had with Amey that ended in August 2013.
 
Over 30 separate areas of dispute remain between the parties and have been under negotiation.
 
In January, Amey broke off negotiations and referred outstanding matters to Adjudication.
 
The Hereford Times understands that Amey and the Council are very far apart in their respective views on the disputed issues.
 
Council papers identify the need for “specialist barristers and technical experts†to present its case.
 
It is still possible that further Adjudication Notices or other legal proceedings may be issued by either party.
 
Advice from counsel and other technical experts is said to “strongly support†the stance taken by council officers in resisting Amey’s claims and the potential for successful counter claims.
 
Behind the scenes, though, there is concern at the extent of resources needed to protect the council’s legal rights, with a warning.
 
But top council managers and senior political leaders have been warned of a “significant risk†that Amey’s claims could succeed by default without the deployment of appropriate resources.
 
The release of  funds from the risk mitigation reserve was signed off this week by Cllr Patricia Morgan, cabinet member for corporate services.
 
This  decision was taken without reference to a committee but could still be called in by scrutiny.
 
With the decision comes an “overarching†exemption to the council’s contract procedure rules to appoint specialist professional, legal, and technical support without going to tender.
 
A special project team has been set up to manage the disputes with Director for Economic, Communities and Corporate Geoff Hughes as Project Executive.
 
Though the council is claiming exemption from disclosure of the financial resources required, it does say that the level is “considered appropriate†to ensure that the disputes are dealt with effectively.
 
In 2013, the Hereford Times revealed that more than £3 million of “disputed items†remained to be resolved when the council ended its service provision contract with Amey.
 
Then, the council was warned of the potential risk these disputed items presented to budget planning.
 
Some of the impact, however, was identified for absorption  within the 2013-14 budgets managed by Amey through the managing agent contract agreement formed out of two contracts renegotiated in 2009.
 
In total, the council paid £38.5m to Amey Wye Valley over 2012-13 – up from £32m in 2011/12.
 
Subsequent council budget papers revealed the disputed items risk. Following the adjudication of a sample of disputes earlier that year,  talks were underway between the council and Amey to evaluate the impact of this ruling.
 
Then, the council expected some £885,000 of income from Amey – for which provision had been made in the previous years’ outturns – and an additional expectation of £166,000 for the five months to that August.
 
Earlier in 2013 Amey missed out on the council’s £200m public realm contract covering highways, parks, street cleaning and street lighting.
 
The contract went to Balfour Beatty.
 
Public realm was one of the council’s first private sector partnership initiatives.
 
In 2003 the council entered into a contract with national construction and engineering firm Jarvis PLC for the provision of contract services worth around £13m a year over 10 years.
 
The contract involved establishing a joint venture company called Herefordshire Jarvis Services (HJS) with staff transferred over from the council’s former commercial services arm.
 
Just a year later Jarvis saw its share price plummet and started talking about breaking up the company to survive.
 
A proposed sale of HJS that all parties came to rely on fell through and the council had to prepare contingency plans to keep key services running until Amey agreed to buy the 80 per cent share Jarvis had in HJS with the council keeping its 20 per cent.
 
Amey Wye Valley took over the contract in August 2007 and soon had to cover much of the £2m plus HJS was found to owe sub-contractors, suppliers and other creditors, a debt that caused considerable tension within the county’s business community.
 
In 2009 elements of the council’s two contracts with Amey – the other entered into after a company providing the council with technical services was taken over by Amey – were re-negotiated to form a single managing agent contract through which  Amey Herefordshire would deliver highways, parks and public rights of way service plus a range of support services such as printing, catering and couriers.
 
AMEY DISPUTE – COUNCIL STATEMENT:
 
“In the decade to August 2013 a wide range of ‘streetscene’ (highways and public spaces), building maintenance, catering and other ancillary services were delivered through a contract latterly held by Amey Wye Valley Ltd. Over that period the contract value exceeded £200m.
 
With all its contracts, Herefordshire Council expects to pay the contracted fair rate for the services provided in return we expect those services to be performed to the contracted specification. Such concerns are notified to the contractor at the point they become known to the council.
 
During the course of any contract areas of disagreement may arise and when this occurs the council seeks to find an acceptable way forward.
 
At the end of the Amey contract a number of disagreements remained unresolved.
 
The council has sought to reach a fair negotiated settlement with Amey but have been unable to reach agreement. In January Amey took the step of referring four areas of dispute to a formal adjudication process.
 
The adjudicators have now issued their rulings on these four matters. The adjudicators have ruled in favour of Amey in respect of two issues on the grounds that a notice issued by the council, which identified the sum to be withheld from payment on performance grounds, had not been served in the correct form. Of the remaining two issues one was again in relation to the correct service of a withholding notice, which was found to have been correctly served. The final matter was the single highest value dispute. It related to the calculation of the annual inflationary uplift applied to the contract. The adjudicator found in the council’s favour.
 
The council is satisfied that the rulings of the adjudicators have recognised the validity of the council’s position in this matter. The council will seek a constructive dialogue with Amey with a view to resolving the remaining outstanding disputes.
 
The council will make no further comment at this stage given these further negotiations and the potential for legal action.â€

 

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Well I'm not going to quote it but having read this latest development on HT I am a absolutely appalled..where is our brother from the Wirral he will love this!

 

I'm actually surprised that there's not been the excuse " media restrictions apply for it might damage our case"

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This story in the HT also begs the question that if this is the way that Big Al operates, on how many other issues has he managed to silence councillors?  It could explain the eerie silence from councillors (with some exceptions) whenever the council as an institution is embarrassed.  Perhaps a Councillor could let us know....?

 

a propos nothing - does anyone remember the 1980s tv series "The Beiderbecke Affair".  Two characters in it were referred to as Big Al and Little Norm.  Do you think this should be working names of our Chief Exec and Legal Director?

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a propos nothing - does anyone remember the 1980s tv series "The Beiderbecke Affair".  Two characters in it were referred to as Big Al and Little Norm.  Do you think this should be working names of our Chief Exec and Legal Director?

I remember enjoying the Beiderbecke Affair but then thinking it lost its way in the sequels.  

 

I'm all for taking the mickey out of the  Council's self celebratory inner circle, but would suggest that dubbing the post holders in question  Big Al and Little Norm  runs the risk of turning them into genial comedy figures, which they manifestly aren't.

Edited by Pete Boggs
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I remember enjoying the Beiderbecke Affair but then thinking it lost its way in the sequels.  

 

I'm all for taking the mickey out of the  Council's self celebratory inner circle, but would suggest that dubbing the post holders in question  Big Al and Little Norm  runs the risk of turning them into genial comedy figures, which they manifestly aren't.

Really? I certainly find the majority a Joke! Sorry but I find it better than sobbing uncontrollably

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Interesting update on this story over at HT. I see Two Wheels and Megilleland were first off the starting blocks, and have already posted comments!

 

It's definitely worth a read through.

 

 

Keep watching.  It's getting more interesting and revealing by the day.................................

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Surely if the Councillors don't have all the facts then the Chief Executive is failing in ensuring staff provide sound and factual reports for Council decision making. I must admit many of the Council reports are overlong and run to hundreds of pages, not the sort of reports which are well summarised like you get in most good businesses and organisations. Could this be why the Chief Executive doesn't want Councillors to say anything about this issue because he is the one who failed in ensuring that his staff reported this in the main report to Cabinet?

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  • 1 month later...
  • 7 months later...
  • 9 months later...
  • 6 months later...

MINUTES OF RICHARDS CASTLE (HEREFORDSHIRE) PARISH COUNCIL MEETING

HELD AT THE VILLAGE HALL AT 7.30 PM ON THURSDAY 26 JANUARY 2017

16/103 Report from Herefordshire Councillor for Bircher Ward – Ward Cllr. Bowen said Council Tax is likely to increase by 3.9 percent in 2017-18, with 2 percent of the increase earmarked for social care. As a county, there are around 25 percent more older people relative to other counties. Children’s Services have been rated as being in the top quartile for the country. By 2020 financial support from government will be minimal and the funding is expected to be replaced by business rates. Following a legal ruling against a previous highways contractor, it is hoped that an additional £9 million will become available once the legal process has concluded. Ward Cllr. Bowen said he is urging the lump sum, once available, is used to improve the roads. The locality steward acknowledges the condition of the roads. The Police and Crime Commissioner has decided not to increase the policing budget in 2017-18, however increases are expected for the subsequent three years. Warwickshire and West Mercia Police share some facilities, including IT, to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

 

Is this Amey? Note that Richard's Castle Parish Council received £107,463.98 in the March 2017 Herefordshire Council monthly expenditure figures. Seems very generous.

 

MINUTES OF RICHARDS CASTLE (HEREFORDSHIRE) PARISH COUNCIL EXTRAORDINARY MEETING

HELD AT THE VILLAGE HALL AT 7.30 PM ON THURSDAY 23 FEBRUARY 2017

also

16/121 To invite views and discussion from members of the parish – A member of the public expressed concern at the condition of roads, specifically near the entrance to Castle Road.

Ward Cllr. Bowen said the result of a legal claim with a former highways contractor is likely to result in a windfall of £8 - £12 million depending on legal fees and the appeals process. The additional funding, which Ward Cllr. Bowen is pressing to be used for the road network, may help to improve roads in Richards Castle.

 

Up to £12 Million from £9 million within a month!

Edited by megilleland
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