|"Yeah but, no but" decisions|
"Savings and improvements to services will result from a fresh recommendation to appoint John Laing Integrated Services (JLIS) as preferred bidder to run the council's library service.
The decision to go with the firm is now to be examined by Croydon Council's scrutiny committee.
JLIS was originally chosen as the authority's preferred library-operating partner after its bid was judged to have been the best, based on an assessment of price and quality. However, the company made a request for a last-minute variation to its obligations concerning employer pension contributions.
In line with EU contract tendering rules, the council therefore reopened bidding to other final-stage bidders.
Two revised bids were subsequently received and carefully assessed. As a result, the council will secure the most economically advantageous terms while, at the same time, protecting the quality of services currently on offer.
Councillor Tim Pollard, the cabinet member responsible for the service, will be ensuring that there is an examination by the cross-party scrutiny committee of how the council reached this decision. This will enable those with an interest in the project to fully understand how the evaluation team reached its conclusions.
The council undertook the tendering project after a public consultation exercise that came at a time when libraries across the country were coming under increasing threat of closures.
The move continues to be seen as the best means of ensuring there will be no risk of Croydon losing any of its libraries.
Councillor Pollard said: "I'm very pleased that we've reached this point so quickly after the recent delay. My intention now is to ensure that the basis of my decision is examined fully, and that's why I'll be ensuring this matter is taken to our scrutiny committee.
"This will give councillors from both parties the opportunity to understand how we've arrived at this point and what the benefits will be of entering into this new contract."Subject to the decision-making process reaching its conclusion, it is anticipated that the new service will start from the beginning of October."
Having raised questions as to why Cllr Pollard was so shy to announce his decision, taken late before a bank holiday weekend at the start of Croydon school's half-term break, with local residents also raising questions and Croydon Labour threatening to cancel the contract should they gain power in 2014, it seems even Cllr Pollard has lost his nerve and called his own decision in for scrutiny.
You really could not make it up!
Cue yet another Private Eye article.
The scrutiny committee failed to take any notice of the body of evidence from the politically neutral Save Croydon Libraries Campaign last time and are likely to do so now, but if Cllr Cummings (who promised to get in touch, but failed to do so) wishes to take this evidence on board, or any other councillor sitting on scrutiny wishes to, please get in touch. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org