Following the collapse of the £104 million procurement process to contract out Lancashire County Councils Children’s 01-19 Health Services, including health visitors and school nurses. Lancashire Tax Payers will now have to fund another £200,000 Legal Bill to cover the cost of the High Court Action which they lost to Lancashire Care and Blackpool Victoria NHS Trusts.
High Court Judge, Mr Justice Stuart-Smith set aside the decision to award the contract, and severely criticised the council’s processes. Due to the basic errors in the procurement process the council has been forced to re run the scoring and moderation stage with a new independent panel. The existing bids from Lancashire Care and Blackpool Victoria NHS trusts and Virgin Care we remain. This saw the private company Virgin Care win the lucrative contract. The existing contract with Lancashire Care and Blackpool Victoria NHS Trusts will continue to March 2019.
Cllr John Fillis, Lancashire Labour Deputy Leader, said “At a time when services are being cut and tax increases of 6%, the last thing Lancashire people should have to put up with is a legal bill for £200,000. This is not over yet as we may see a second legal challenge by the organisation who is not successful in the next moderation of the bids.”
“This unfortunately this is typical of this chaotic Conservative Council, who brush aside any criticism of costs to local people but are very happy to spend £38,000 on Iphones for themselves. This is not the first time Conservatives in Lancashire have brought the council in to disrepute and I’m sure it will not be the last.”
“This form of contracting out is a waste of time and money and is just another step towards the privatisation of our National Health Service. The staff are doing a fantastic job but they constantly face the prospect of restructuring. They should be allowed to get on with the job.”
“However we have to deal with what is in front of us. As such Labour has:
- Proposed that councillors are none voting members of moderation panel to ensure transparency and integrity through public accountability.
- Called for the procurement procedure to be scrutinised by the Health Scrutiny Committee.
- Written to the External Auditor asking for an investigation into the whole procurement process.”