NO MONEY FOR REPAIRS – BUT LAMBETH COUNCIL TO SPEND £50,000 A YEAR ON INDEPENDENT ADVISERS FOR CENTRAL HILL ESTATE – “Renewed contract will include break clauses if the budget is not enough”

Lambeth council are set to spend more money on independent advisers for Central Hill – one of the six estates they want to demolish as part of their highly controversial Homes for Lambeth plans.

Lambeth Labour have consistently claimed that they cannot afford to do repairs on the six estates because of Government cutbacks and are demolishing the estates and then rebuilding them instead.

An officers report – dated January 15th this year –  comes hot on the heels of criticisms by Lambeth green Cllr Pete Elliott (Gipsy Hill ward which includes the Central Hill estate), who told a council cabinet meeting just before Christmas that while the pot of gold for their Homes for Lambeth scheme seemed to be bottomless other areas of the council’s services were being dramatically cut due to austerity measures.

The advisers are PPCR Associates who have been independent advisers on the estate since 2015. News From Crystal Palace have been unable to establish what the cost of this contract was.

The funding is being given the go-ahead as an officer delegated decision, Lambeth’s co-operative council not having the traditional committee system of other councils.

The report says “The cost of this independent adviser contract for Central Hill is expected to be £50,000 per annum and £200,000 over the four years of the contract period, with a review at two years.

“The allocated budget for Central Hill for 2018-19 is £360,000 which includes the allowance for the independent adviser role. “For future years the on-going budgets will be agreed, but the contract should include break clauses in the event that sufficient budget is not available.

“The costs for this four year contract is covered by the capital budgets that is allocated to each estate regeneration project.

“This report recommends the appointment of PPCR Associates as the independent adviser for Central Hill estate for up to four years.

“There is a commitment in the programme’s ‘key guarantees’ to maintain independent advisers on regeneration estates throughout the lifetime of each project.

“As the existing independent advice contract will soon come to an end on Central Hill, it was therefore necessary to procure a new Independent advisor from Lambeth’s OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union*) compliant framework. “This was created in February 2018 and contractors are appointed through a mini-competition.

“The conclusion of this mini-competition based on 50 per cent price / 50pc quality assessment was that PPCR are the preferred contractor, and the recommendation is that they should be appointed to this role. “The preferred bidder has met the required procurement levels set for both price and quality.

“PPCR Associates Ltd are currently working on Central Hill as the independent adviser. “No preference was given to them as the incumbent supplier as part of the procurement process, but it does mean there will be a seamless handover from the old contract to the new one.”

The report contains the usual comments / platitudes / hype (depending on your point of view) including the following:

“2.1 As part of the council’s commitment to resident engagement for all the estate regeneration schemes independent advisors need to be appointed. Consultation and engagement is key to Lambeth’s strategy of being a co-operative council.

2.2 The independent adviser contract will be used to provide independent advice services to residents on Central Hill estate regeneration and will contribute to the overall delivery of the estate regeneration programme.

2.3 PPCR Associates were initially appointed in 2015 and their existing contract expiry is imminent as they are reaching their purchase order limit. Therefore, there is an urgency for a new contract to be in place to maintain the council’s commitment to provide an independent advice service at Central Hill.

2.4 As Central Hill moves into the masterplanning phase, it is important that all secure tenants and homeowners continue to have access to technical independent advice about the regeneration as well as working with council officers to harness the social and economic benefits that could arise from the rebuilding of the estate.”

To read the full report – which is not subject to ‘call in’ by at least five councillors -please go to: lambeth.gov officer delegated decisions. Report title: Procurement of Independent Advisers for Central Hill Estate Regeneration Programme 26/12/2018 – 09/01/2019

*the publication in which all tenders from the public sector which are valued above a certain financial threshold according to EU legislation, must be published.

Further reading: “BOTTOMLESS PIT OF GOLD FOR COUNCIL’S HOUSING REGENERATION SCHEME – OTHER AREAS BEING CUT DRASTICALLY January 4th 2019

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