Clean­ing firm ten­der is well be­low bud­get: Shire

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - War­ren Hately

The Shire of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River has hosed down claims a Perth clean­ing firm was awarded its lat­est lu­cra­tive three-year con­tract de­spite cheaper ten­ders from lo­cal com­pa­nies.

In­stead, win­ning ten­derer BrightMark was more than $200,000 be­low the Shire’s bud­get for the ser­vice.

The Shire drew upon WA Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion ex­per­tise dur­ing the re­quest for ten­der process to en­sure all stan­dards were fol­lowed af­ter up­roar three years ago when the same ser­vices were awarded to an­other Perth firm, OCE Cor­po­rate.

Act­ing Shire pres­i­dent Julia Mel­drum told the Times the win­ning ten­der from BrightMark “came in well be­low bud­get and the other ten­der­ers in­clud­ing the lo­cal providers” at $323,265 a year for three years.

The ten­der was more than $200,000 be­low the Shire’s bud­get for the con­tract at $531,000.

“We are vi­tally con­cerned about cre­at­ing a re­gen­er­a­tive lo­cal econ­omy, but we are also charged with gain­ing ‘ value for money’,” Cr Mel­drum told the Times.

“Coun­cil has to get the best value for money for the ratepay­ers and un­for­tu­nately the lo­cal bids were higher, even giv­ing them a price pref­er­ence, which is al­lowed un­der the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act (com­pe­ti­tion leg­is­la­tion).

“This equates to a 10 per cent dis­count.”

The eval­u­a­tion cri­te­ria in­cluded a 30 per cent fo­cus on the ten­derer’s re­sources, per­son­nel and ex­pe­ri­ence, and 30 per cent for rel­e­vant ex­pe­ri­ence and demon­strated abil­ity.

Eight com­pa­nies in to­tal bid for the con­tract.

Lo­cal op­er­a­tors voiced their out­rage on so­cial me­dia last week, but many went to ground in re­sponse to Times in­quiries, with sev­eral say­ing they feared reper­cus­sions for fu­ture ten­ders if they spoke out.

Mar­garet River Cham­ber of Com­merce ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Re­becca Young said her group was still await­ing full de­tails of the de­ci­sion.

“The MR­CCI ad­vo­cates strongly for sup­port­ing lo­cal first and keep­ing dol­lars in the re­gion, but at this stage, we do not know the facts around the de­ci­sion and we re­spect that the Shire has a num­ber of obli­ga­tions that they must ful­fil,” she said.

“We will be meet­ing with them next week and it’s on the agenda for dis­cus­sion.”

Some op­er­a­tors said they felt it was now point­less seek­ing Shire con­tracts, that big firms had an ad­van­tage be­cause they were well-prac­tised at ten­ders, and some com­pa­nies would no longer be vi­able in the face of com­pe­ti­tion from out­side firms.

Margritz Clean­ing owner Ryan Nielsen said he was shocked to learn the win­ning ten­der price, say­ing 90 per cent of any cleaner’s costs came from staff and all com­pa­nies used the same wages award.

Mr Nielsen ques­tioned how ser­vice lev­els could com­pare to other ten­ders when it came in more than $160,000 a year cheaper than his own bid.

But he stressed any bids closer to the Shire’s bud­geted ex­pec­ta­tions did not mean those ten­ders were “ex­pen­sive”.

“If a lo­cal com­pany de­liv­ered the ser­vice we would see em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for ex­ist­ing lo­cal res­i­dents in Mar­garet River and Au­gusta rather than what has hap­pened pre­vi­ously,” he said.

Pic­ture: War­ren Hately

The Me­mo­rial Park toi­lets were sub­ject to dis­gust­ing van­dal­ism on Mon­day morn­ing, with the mess cleaned within three hours.

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