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Process leading to the award of toilet contract was 'not correct' acknowledges Ilkley Town Council

At an extraordinary meeting the council decided the current contractor will complete the refurbishment project

Ilkley Town Council held an extraordinary meeting this week following a formal complaint regarding the tendering process for the refurbishment of the toilets at the Riverside Gardens.

Following the meeting on Wednesday evening the council has released this statement:

"Ilkley Town Council has considered a complaint from a resident regarding the tender process for the refurbishment of the Riverside Gardens toilets. The Council now understands, accepts and acknowledges that the process leading to the award of the current contract was not correct under the Council’s Standing Orders and Financial Regulations. The Council notes that the decision was made in good faith in the belief of the Council at the time, that an appropriate procedure had been followed for the procurement of a specialist service. The decision to award the contract was unanimous. The Council notes that no Councillor or staff member has declared any pecuniary or other non-pecuniary interest or received any dispensation in this matter.

"The Council has reviewed its contractual obligations and further information that has been presented to Councillors and has taken additional legal advice on a number of aspects.

"At its resumed Extraordinary Meeting on December 22nd 2021, Ilkley Town Council decided to retain the current contractor to complete the project for which planning permission has been obtained and for which part payment is legally due. The Town Council believes that the appointed contractor can deliver high quality, modern public toilet facilities. The Council considers that alternative options present a greater risk to precept payers in terms of significant unknown financial costs and delayed timescale for delivery.

"The Town Council has already set in place a review of Standing Orders, Financial Regulations, a procurement policy and Councillor and staff training to ensure that future decisions are taken with more robust and informed guidance. The Council will consider whether further specialist audit or external governance advice is appropriate.

The Town Council regrets that on this occasion its tendering processes fell short of the high standards expected of it and to which it strives to adhere."

As reported by the Ilkley Gazette last month, Ilkley resident Roger Yaxley lodged a formal complaint with Ilkley Town Council claiming it failed to follow due diligence during the tendering process.

In June, the town council agreed to sign a contract worth £112,708 with the company Healthmatic to go-ahead with the conversion of the toilets into four self-contained cubicles.

Planning permission for the work was granted by Bradford Council on November 3.

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