South Tyneside Council is in hot water for putting out a public tender for its proposed South Shields leisure complex without approaching its own in-house design team
The contract, worth between £12m and £16m, is for the consultancy services associated with the design, procurement and construction of a pierside swimming pool and leisure complex for the seaside town.
The Shields Gazette reported that the council’s in-house team of architects, project managers, quantity surveyors, mechanical and electrical engineers had not been approached for the job.
Merv Butler, branch secretary of Unison in South Tyneside, quoted in the Shields Gazette said that the in-house team should be considered, particularly at a time when up to 350 town hall jobs are under threat.
The council has defended its decision, a spokesman said: ‘The design of swimming pools is a specialist area and the Council does not have this specialist expertise in house.The Council also has to procure the design in accordance with EU procurement rules, which is why expressions of interest from design teams are being sought.
Procurement rules state that all public contracts above a value of £3,497,313 must be advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union, to prevent ‘buy national’ policies.