Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser

Councillor­s explain their tender decision

Parties will ask for inclusion of women’ said expertise

- JUDITH TONNER

Councillor­s say they are unable to influence or interfere with the outcome of the service tendering process, and insist they want to ensure that the Women’s Aid organisati­ons can continue contributi­ng to local services.

They unanimousl­y agreed an SNP amendment to the committee papers, asking for a report for their next meeting “detailing how the expertise of Monklands, Motherwell & Wishaw and North Lanarkshir­e Women’s Aid and others might be integrated into the new approach to domestic abuse service provision”.

It added that: “Women’s Aid locally have built up expertise since 2008 focusing on crisis support, advocacy, on-call, one-to-one and support services, and these skills and talents must be recognised and appreciate­d by North Lanarkshir­e Council in our overall approach to the delivery of these vital services.”

The SNP group issued a statement following the decision outlining “the challenge that faced councillor­s”, saying they “were faced with a report to make a contract award to an organisati­on who had legally and successful­ly won through a tendering process – in which councillor­s, under their code of conduct, are unable to interfere.

“[Our] councillor­s made significan­t enquiries to understand the potential role Women’s Aid can have in the future against the backdrop of a committee report which could not be rejected, reviewed or continued in the context of legal processes and the code of conduct.”

Agnes Magowan, the group’s education and families spokespers­on, said: “I understand the concern that has been expressed across communitie­s about the potential loss in services by Women’s Aid.

“The SNP group is actively listening, but the rules of procuremen­t are clear and the award has been made to Sacro to deliver these vital services.

“But we do not consider this should be done in isolation. We appreciate the services provided by Women’s Aid, such as housing, support groups and refuge.

“We view Women’s Aid as a crucial part of the scheme to support women and children experienci­ng domestic abuse in North Lanarkshir­e; the report which we obtained cross-party support for is a beacon of hope that their work will continue to support overall service delivery.”

Party colleague Claire Barclay praised “the powerful and important work” of Women’s Aid and added: “We can ensure that the way forward includes their vital work and that we do not lose their many, many years of experience and expertise; publicatio­n of the urgent report on future services [will be] a way forward which should include Women’s Aid in North Lanarkshir­e.”

Councillor Frank Mcnally, the education and families committee convener, said: “The council has undertaken a full, open and transparen­t procuremen­t process, which Women’s Aid participat­ed in. Under the legal

tender framework Sacro have won the contract. Elected members have no role in influencin­g the tender process.

“The council is committed to tackling domestic abuse in all its forms and supporting victims.

“There will be no detriment to domestic abuse services in North Lanarkshir­e as a result of this procuremen­t outcome.”

A statement from the Conservati­ve group said: “It is extremely disappoint­ing

that Women’s Aid was unsuccessf­ul in their bid to provide specialist services, given the outstandin­g work they do to help women and children who have experience­d domestic abuse.

“We joined with other parties to ensure that a paper is brought before the relevant committees detailing how the expertise of Women’s Aid and other charities could be used to help shape the new approach to domestic abuse service provision at North Lanarkshir­e Council.”

 ??  ?? Outcome Councillor­s at North Lanarkshir­e Council HQ can’t interfere with the tender process
Outcome Councillor­s at North Lanarkshir­e Council HQ can’t interfere with the tender process

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