Home > Just and fair to all? > Cabinet Office has recommended that Arun District Council should initiate a new OJEU process

Cabinet Office has recommended that Arun District Council should initiate a new OJEU process


Following an investigation through its mystery shopper scheme (an informal investigatory service for suppliers and other interested parties who have concerns about the conduct of a procurement process), the Cabinet Office has recommended that Arun District Council should initiate a new OJEU process with regard to the Bognor Regis regeneration proposals.

The cabinet Office said:

“Many thanks for bringing the Bognor Regis Town Centre development agreement to our attention. 

On the basis of the information you have provided we have discussed your concerns with Arun District Council, who have informed us that the development agreement has been extended to 31 December 2014 and that they are continuing to explore a number of options.  

Cabinet Office has subsequently recommended that a new OJEU process should be initiated, and the Council’s representative has confirmed that they will make all officers and members dealing with the matter aware of this recommendation.”

This is the text of two e-mails from Tony Dixon to the Cabinet Office:

E-mail sent to Cabinet Office 26th December 2013

Sirs

I am concerned that Arun District Council is in breach of the OJEU directives on public procurement.

I raised this with DCLG and they advised that, after consultation with colleagues in the Cabinet Office,  the best way for me to raise this matter was through the Mystery Shopper channel, which, I am advised is open to the public.

DCLG also advised me that I can raise an infraction complaint with the EU commission, which I will also do.

Arun District Council, awarded a contract to a developer called St Modwen in 2006. The value of the winning bid was over £100 million.

Since then the project has been substantially changed from the original winning bid and Mr Tim Seddon of St Modwen advised Full Council in November that the project was now valued at £25-£40 million.

This is a substantial deviation from the winning bid and I am concerned that it constitutes a breach of the OJEU directives.

I have attached:

a) The original invitation to tender

b) The contract award notice

Could you please investigate this matter.

I would appreciate it if you could acknowledge receipt of this complaint.

Yours sincerely

E-mail sent to Cabinet Office 4th January 2014

Dear Stephen

Many thanks for your response.

I understand your scope and remit much better now and fully understand why it is not possible to consider such a matter through both routes.

I would like to request that the Cabinet Office does investigate this matter through the mystery shopper route, and so, to facilitate this, I have written to the EU to withdraw my infraction complaint.

I want to take this opportunity to expand my concerns a little more:

As you are already aware, I am concerned that Arun District Council may be in breach of the OJEU directives on public procurement. The council awarded a contract to a developer called St Modwen in 2006. The value of the winning bid was over £106 million.

Since then the project has been substantially changed from the original winning bid and a representative of St Modwen advised Full Council in November that the project was now valued at £25-£40 million. (You will see that the figure debated in the council minutes is £40 million. In fact, the figure quoted by St Modwen was £25-£40 million and that is what was reported in the Bognor Observer on November 14th 2013). See here for the minutes http://www.arun.gov.uk/mediaFiles/downloads/74685092/Minutes_Special_Council_061113.pdf

At the Special Full Council in November the council voted to extend the period of the development agreement for another year, in the full knowledge that the scheme is now valued substantially lower. It has, in essence, accepted the £25-£40 million figure.

This is a substantial deviation from the winning bid and I am concerned that it may constitute a breach or infraction of the OJEU directives.

I want to draw your attention to a Freedom of Information request on whatdotheyknow.com – see https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/communications_re_enquiry_from_d#incoming-464117 . and to comment as follows:

The council’s Senior Regeneration/LSP Manager, in internal correspondence, states that “… the basic elements of the scheme are the same, but without all the flashy add-ons …”. That would value the “flashy add-ons” at somewhere between £66-£81 million! This is “spin” to disguise the fact that something like 86% – 69% of the scheme is being removed.

In the FOI information the council advises DCLG of the consultations it has undertaken, but does not make it clear whether this was for the £106 million “winning bid” or the scheme now reduced by £66-£81 million. I am concerned that the final scheme cannot possibly be close to the scheme the council has already consulted on and that the council may now be using those consultations inappropriately to justify a much smaller scheme.

I note from the FOI correspondence that DCLG has stated “it is not the role of DCLG to intervene in local matters. It is very important that local authorities act independently of central government …” I assume that is why DCLG has suggested the mystery shopper channel instead.

Kind regards

Tony Dixon said in a statement today;

“The fact that the Cabinet Office has recommended that Arun District Council should initiate a new OJEU process with regard to the Bognor Regis regeneration proposals clearly calls into question Arun’s conduct in this public procurement process.  

I call on the council’s leader, Cllr. Mrs Brown, to accept full responsibility and resign.”

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  1. April 9, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Oh and chuckle I commend you for documenting so effectively unlike me who went to central goverment and endured the persistent blocking and also your support of me never in a million years did I ever think I would be pushed to want to end my life and in the words of the daily journalists to me you let em off lightly my life now is what was chosen for me by this goverment and local authority and I’m much cheered by my medics view the police view and all who found my journey and treatment totally unexceptable and it’s with eternal thanks to you the people of Bognor my friends my family who believed in me for my right to be in charge of my life and my independence so thank you all from the bottom of my heart

  2. April 9, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Just wondering if mine all documented is a chuckle then because quite frankly I find it totally bizzare quote equality go to central goverment I would expect job losses within arun central goverment need to know of this dysfunctional council then hey it gets blocked and brushed under the carpet Realy cheering on Friday to hear news at my old address at just what has been going on how many years was he paid houseing benefit ? Treatment of me termed abuse cruelty and discrimination high time the dysfunctionals gone out of adc I rather resent being lumped under the same umbrella as others at what this authority and goverment chose for me I also remember bognor when it was great and now multiplexes on seafront surely not so old hat look what happened to Bournemouth a properly run council would not years on be so indecisive how many years has this st modwens been on board how much money wasted the question needs an answer said it all on the weekend arundel councillor terming what police believe a crime which is what it was term stealing he professed high pranks he gets paid to spout this off in terms of councillors being paid to not live in the area we read gill brown says it’s ok Realy this is public money and fact the system requires electorates point of call is a councillor so where was one when the goverment said access one all I contacted said they could go into adc they will be ignored police also said same so get rid of those councillors not rocket science the good councillor of arundel fails to answer the question are you qualified whichever you aren’t needed adc has enviro officers little more than a couple of years back adc was the second council only not to have an access officer well now they have and in my case I knew the law regarding me equality made me aware so high time adc work with him I find it aborent disabled people all lumped under the same umbrella at an authority who have little understanding if brains were used to employ councillors knowledgable in various issues this indeed would be an advantage I don’t find it exceptable that gill browns friends rule the roost as was reported in the littlehampton gazette neither do I find it exceptable councillors discuss on social network sites high time it all got addressed I know I have been very grateful to those who work in adc who have assisted and those who have apologised for the failings so it’s time adc step up to the mark get rid of the dead wood the lot is an absolute disgrace and rather sad no ability to apologize no democracy if as stated to my medics had any said stop I would have done and as stated to goverment I never again want to here of another disabled within arun suffering as I did for whatever reason they lack ability to admit failings choosing labeling preferred method so I do hope the area can move forward in whatever shape and form with people at the helm not stuck in the dark ages with a leader at the helm up to speed councillors up to speed because as it stands complacency in a job clearly the rot has set in electorate think it and I know employers think it

  3. fedup
    April 8, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Well well more mis information found out from the knockers AGAIN.
    A total retraction of the misinformation should be done by the knocking minority.
    The lies told should be dealt with in court….. libel isn’t it?
    We are not all bad, but I suppose ignorance is bliss to some.

    ============================================

    Councillor Mrs Gillian Brown, Leader of Arun District Council, said: “The Cabinet Office has conceded that the information given to Mr Dixon was untrue – Arun District Council has not breached the terms of the OJEU on tendering regulations. Nor has it been investigated for doing so.

    “An email from the Cabinet Office stated that, ‘The Cabinet Office Mystery Shopper scheme provides an informal route for concerns to be raised about public procurement issues. We accept these referrals on an anonymous basis and our aim is to discuss issues with contracting authorities and where necessary make recommendations based on good procurement policy and practice, which we routinely share with the mystery shopper as well as the authority. In line with the Government’s commitment to transparency, results of referrals are published on line.
    ‘In this case we did not investigate the original contract award and there is no suggestion from the work we have done that its award was not made in accordance with the Public Contracts Regulations or the EU Directives on public procurement. The e-mail circulated from Bognor Regis Civic Society is therefore not correct in this respect.’
    “Therefore I would like to make it clear that while the Council has extended the developer agreement with St Modwen, no other decisions have been made so Arun District Council has not breached any regulations and any allegations made along these lines are completely without substance.

    “We are pushing for a full apology and are very disappointed with the Cabinet Office for putting information out into the public arena which was completely untrue.”

    The Cabinet Office Mystery Shopper scheme provides an informal route for concerns to be raised about public procurement issues. We accept these referrals on an anonymous basis and our aim is to discuss issues with contracting authorities and where necessary make recommendations based on good procurement policy and practice, which we routinely share with the mystery shopper as well as the authority. In line with the Government’s commitment to transparency, results of referrals are published on line.

    In this case we did not investigate the original contract award and there is no suggestion from the work we have done that its award was not made in accordance with the Public Contracts Regulations or the EU Directives on public procurement.

    The e-mail circulated from Bognor Regis Civic Society is therefore not correct in this respect and we are writing to Bognor Regis Civic Society accordingly.

    Where contracts have been entered into several years ago and under which work has not yet commenced, we recommend that authorities CONSIDER if they continue to represent best value for money and that a new procurement is initiated if they do not.

    A summary of the results of the referral was sent to Arun District Council for approval. Though this summary is due for publication in due course, we stress that it has not been made public by us at this stage.
    =================================================

    WELL WELL the minority are wrong YET again, for goodness sake, sometimes it is so sad that the truth is not agreed.
    We await a retraction.

    • April 8, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      Hi fedup

      Who are you expecting a retraction from – the Cabinet Office?

  4. sandy f-robinson
    April 7, 2014 at 11:25 am

    dear FED UP [ (too afraid to put your name to print, must be an ADC member)

    Anyway going on to finish my thought….Fed UP says look at all the pounds spent by ADC in this area….yes …all the thousands of pounds are in little Hampton and surrounding area….NOT BOGNOR SPECIFIC.

    AND IF YOU CALL NEW RUBBISH BIN ON THE SEA FRONT WITH ONE SIGN SAYING YOU ARE HERE ON LONDON ROAD WELL SPENT MONEY….
    NOW..A NEW PAVED AREA ON LONDON ROAD (NOT WHAT THE PEOPLE OF BOGNOR WANT BY DESIGN, JUST ANOTHER RAM DOWN YOUR THROAT JOB BY ARUN—WE WANT TASTE AND COLOUR AND TREES WITH LOTS OF FLOWERS……NOT CUTTING DOWN THE EXISTING TREES THAT WERE HEALTHY ON HIGH STREET (BUTCHERS)

    PEOPLE OF BOGNOR ARE NEVER LISTENED TO BY ARUN…ARUN MANIUPLATES THE ADVERTISING AND VOTES, SET UP AND SLANTED TO THEIR WAY

    ARUN IGNORES THE MAJORITY OF CITIZENS COMING TO FRONT WITH PETITIONS ETC….ARUN IGNORES THE DESIGNS / WISHES AND PLANS FOR WHAT IS LEFT OF OUR PRECIOUS SEAFRONT BY CONCERNED BOGNOR CITIZENS…

    ARUN CARRIES WITH A DEAF EAR DOING AS IT PLEASES AND THROWING MONEY AWAY ON THINGS THAT WILL NOT BRING TOURISTS TO BOGNOR INTO THE SEA SIDE . THEY ARE PUMPING MONEY INTO LITTLEHAMPTON SEA FRONT AND AREA.

    ADC TOTAL GAIN LOOKS TO BE MAKING BOGNOR AN INCUBATOR FOR COUNCIL TAX FUNDS TO FEED THEIR OWN INTEREST…..BOGNOR HAS MORE RESIDENTS THAN CHICHESTER, ARUN, LITTLEHAMPTON ETC….AND ADC IS TAKING ALL THE TAX DOLLARS PAID FOR BY BOGNOR CITIZENS AND WILL NOT ACCOUNT AND MAKE PUBLIC THE BOOKS AND SPENDING TO THE BOGNOR REGIS CITIZENS…THEY HAVE MADE EXCUSES TIME AND TIME AGAIN ! THEY REFUSED TO MAKE ACCOUNT FOR ANY USE OF BOGNOR TAX MONEY FOR £5,000 AND ABOVE…..WHY ARUN ? WHY ? WILL THE TRUTH COME OUT ? FESS UP ARUN …..;PRINT OUT FOR THE PUBLIC RECORD ALL THE MONEY YOU HAVE RECEIVED FROM SAINSBURY – BERSTED HOUSING DEVELOPMENT. SO FAR YOU ARE MAKING A WEAK ATTEMPT TO SPEND A FEW QUID ON A LONDON ROAD DESIGN WE DO NOT WANT, A HOTEL WE DO NOT NEED AND ATTEMPTING TO STEAL THE LOVELY BOARDWALK AND MAKING IT PARKING FOR YOUR OWN PERSONAL MEANS AND ADDING TO IT WANTING TO MAKE CHANGES TO THE ROAD USE ON HIGH STREET

    SHAME ON ARUN AND SHAME ON THE P.R. PERSON FOR ARUN CALLED FED UP!!

    CITIZENS OF BOGNOR HAVE BEEN AND ARE NOT PLEASED WITH ARUN AND CLLR GILLIAN BROWN….SHE SHOULD RESIGN IN SHAME AND IF WE CAN VOTE HER AND ALL HER FOLLOWERS OUT, WE WILL IN THE NEXT ELECTION

    WE ARE FED UP WITH BEING MANIUIPLATED AND LIED TO

    PROUD CITIZEN OF BOGNOR

  5. fedup
    April 6, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Re petition,
    IT WAS NOT LEGAL. Fairly simple to understand, The picturedrome is a public asset, the building cant be used for anything else. Its the only protected business I know of.
    Also it is Valued at @ £500,000.oo quid and yet nearly a million has been spent or will be spent on it by Bognor.
    If this was YOUR house and it was valued at the same price would you keep throwing YOUR own money at it????? NO of course not, but other peoples …. that’s Ok?

    If yes then you need a padded cell, if no and you need to look into it and review just what is going on, then that is a wise move.

    Do those residents want to save a Cinema that is in private ownership and a building that can only be used for that purpose, it cant be turned into flats, it is protected. If the owner goes and a new owner comes in will the people of Bognor keep throwing money at IT?
    How many millions!!!!!!

    Perhaps if the truth was actually given and not hidden the PUBLIC would realise they were hoodwinked with only half a story.

    If that petition was ok’ed in any way it wanted by the chuckles of Bognor it would have stopped anyone else, includeing Butlins from doing a Cinema for almost the next 30 years. That’s a “chuckle” Doh. Who is afraid of competition?

    Seems like another knock knock knocker from the misinforming minority.
    Some of us want better, want improvement, not stagnation and moaning about everything is plain madness.

    Just another opinion from the fedup silent majority!!!!!!

    • sandy
      April 7, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      OUR LOVELY OLD FASHIONED MOVIE THEATRE, ONE OF THE FEW LEFT CHERISHED BUILDINGS IN BOGNOR REGIS, (SINCE ADC HAS BEEN TEARING DOWN AND MISUSING AND ABUSING OUR PROUD HERITAGE STRUCTURES)

      ADC PUT IN FITZLEET AND RUINED QUEENSWAY WITH CHEAP FLATS, THEY EVEN SET THE SAME TACKY BUILDING STRUCTURE ON LONDON ROAD THUS TAKING THE THEME OF A SEA FRONT COMMUNITY.

      ARUN WITH CLLR GILLIAN BROWN AT THE HELM ARE APPARENTLY DOING THEIR BEST TO TURN BOGNOR INTO A WELFARE COMMUNITY SMOTHERED WITH CHEAP FLATS …..ALL FOR ARUNS FINANCIAL INCOME THROUGH MORE COUNCIL TAX INCOME…. YOU DO NOT SEE ADC DOING THIS TO LITTLEHAMPTON, OR ARUNDEL AREA DO YOU ???? ADC IS DOING ITS BEST TO NOT ALLOW A PUBLIC AREA BY THE SEA FOR THE ENJOYMENT OF BOGNOR RESIDENTS AND AN ATTRACTION FOR TOURISTS TO OUR AREA,

      OUR THEATRE IS REASONABLE AND MUCH APPRECIATED ADMISSIONS ARE A BLESSING ! WE DO NOT HAVE TO GO TO CHICHESTER AND SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES PAYING EXORBITENT PRICES TO SEE UP TO DATE MOVIES, WE HAVE THEM HERE ! WE DO NOT WANT LOCAL CHAIN THEATRES WITH HUGE FEES IN OUR COMMUNITY….CHICHESTER IS CLOSE ENOUGH AND EVEN THEIR THEATRES RUN CLOSE TO EMPTY MOST OF THE TIME,

      ARUNS TOTAL DISREGARD TO THE 10,000 + SIGNATURES FROM BOGNOR RESIDENTS IS APPALLING!

      ANY WORK DONE TO BOGNOR BY ADC IS THROWING A BONE IS JUST A PARTY POLITICAL SPIN

      10,000 + PEOPLE OF BOGNOR HAVE SPOKEN AND ARUN WILL NOT LISTEN AND CONTINUES TO GO THEIR OWN WAY……….SHAME ON ARUN, BY DOING SO YOU ARE NOT FIT TO RUN OUR COMMUNITY. TAX MONEY IS FROM AND FOR THE COMMUNITY OF BOGNOR ……. NOT FOR ARUN’S DEAF EARS TO IGNORE WHAT BOGNOR WANTS AND NEEDS AND WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR.

      NOW WE ARE FACED WITH ANOTHER BOTCHED UP MANIPULATED FOR BIDS RUN BY FAILING ARUN AGAIN…..TO REGENERATE THE SEAFRONT.

      WHEN WILL THE PEOPLE OF BOGNOR BE ABLE TO DEVELOP THEIR OWN COMMUNITY ???? THE MONEY THAT WILL BE THROWN AWAY GETTING NEW BIDS JUST LIKE WITH ST MODWEN SHOULD BE MONEY SPENT ON DEVELOPMENT, NOT SOLICITORS AND P.R. PEOPLE WITH ARUNS STICKY FINGERS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PIE.

  6. April 6, 2014 at 11:20 am

    On 5 September 2012 a petition was presented to the Council by the Bognor Regis Civic Society, which had been signed by 10,088 people stating that “We, the undersigned, petition Arun District Council to help protect the Picturedrome Cinema by refusing Landlord’s/Landowner’s permission for the establishment of any competing cinema on any land they own or control in Bognor Regis now or during the period that the Picturedrome Cinema remains in business”.

    A council really has three choices with a petition – to either accept, reject or note it. Noting a petition places the council under no obligation, but it shows a measure of respect for the people who signed the petition.

    Opposition members of the council asked that the petition be noted. The Conservative group, with two exceptions voted to reject the petition.

    I was in the public gallery that night and I felt that, although the wording of the petition left Arun with an opportunity to reject it, the Conservative Group could have noted it to show their respect for the 10,000+ people that had signed the petition. No chance!

    By rejecting the legitimately expressed views of 10,000+ people in such a dismissive manner I felt that Arun’s Conservative Group treat the public as if they were excrement on their shoes. To be brushed off as quickly as possible.

    Arun’s disregard for the people of Bognor Regis is clear for all to see and the assertion that “it’s all the work of a vocal minority” is just party political spin.

    10,000+ people spoke and Arun listened but they did not hear!

  7. fedup
    April 5, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    It is amazing at what utter rubbish some people try to type. Many residents are fedup with ignorance of a small minority ruining Bognor by knocking everything all the time. Before Arun took over, Bognor was ruined by the Bognor Urban Council, but its obvious you were not about then. Knock knock ignorance prevails.
    You both need to learn about the economy and the fact that nothing comes from nothing.
    Learn the facts, Arun have brought thousands of pounds (not dollars) To this area. ignorance is truly bliss!

  8. April 3, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Lights blare in flats because adc flout fire regs lgo goverment knew this cllr bower you are a fool to think a consultation will get darkness it would break the law get rid of all the idiots let’s have a proper running of a council not the farce we have or some of the idiot councillors who are a complete nonsense I keep asking the question have people knowledgable Gillian brown is so past and clearly complacent what a joke the mayor friends with gill brown not living in the area old news why haven’t any manned up and asked her to resign

  9. April 3, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Yep sandy couldn’t agree more I lived in Bognor in the days before adc power to you chuckle yet again today cllr bower reported in the gazette at people not being consulted on street lighting Realy does she not know no point consulting on this flats blaring lights in arun this authority have too because of fire regs so no amount of Wscc asking can change this even if people wanted lights all night she should know this so fire services do so not up to speed so choose to waste tax payers money but because she does not live in the area and gill brown as cllr bower the mayor says states she can carry on now I knew months ago of another councillor who knew about this another councillor moved to Devon so chuckle are we Realy getting down to the nitty gritty of adc the few who are so in it together because this week I told central goverment daily media are now contacting me saying I let adc of lightly goverment knew all of there treatment of me and I was advised courts courts courts at this dysfunctional authority I was also asked if I would call for cllr bowers resignation not a problem and I would gladly look this women in the eyes because I know for a fact any involved with me don’t work there anymore and I have told this goverment since 2010 I was made to live on my own twelve months left to piss the bed and for the pleasure they kicked and didn’t stop so as I stated I want answers had enough of playing round and round the mulberry bush let’s brush it under the carpet adc and some of it’s councillors are an absolute farce and yes sandy my own experience says liars well done chuckle

  10. SANDY F- ROBONSON
    April 3, 2014 at 9:37 am

    bognor residents hae been fed up with the manipulation and blatent lies from CLLR GILLIAN BROWN….she should accept full responsibility for the XXXXXXXXX (moderated) going on the the manipulation of the ARUN COUNCIL MEMBERS .the lies to the press etc. SHE SHOULD RESIGN ! THE PEOPLE OF BOGNOR REGIS HAVE NO SAY IN THEIR OWN PRECIOUS TOWN FOR THE FUTURE…THIS LIAR AND MANIPULATOR OF CABINATE MEMBERS ALL OF WHICH DO NOT LIVE IN BOGNOR IS A SHAM . the people of bognor want to keep the sea front for development of entertainment area for old and young and as a strong draw to attract families from out of our area to enjoy our lovely SEA SIDE COMMUNITY AND WEATHER …AS IN PRECIOUS YEARS BEFORE ARUN TOOK OVER OUR VOICE……WE CITIZENS OF BOGNOR WANT TO RUN AND CONTROL OUR OWN COMMUNITY AND BRING IT BACK TO ITS SEA SIDE RESORT……WE HAVE TO STOP ARUN FROM WAISTING OUR TAX DOLLARS AND KILLING OUR SEA SIDE RESORT COMMUNITY ..

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