The Amtec Contract

This is the original Key Decision where control of the Council was handed over to consultants. It’s the one mentioned by Barnackle Bill on this post.

It’s reproduced here for ease of access, and because the original archive version has major formatting issues which make it mostly unreadable. The original can be found at the following web address:

It is to be hoped that there can be a constructive discussion about this decision, right here on this page, around exactly what has been agreed, what the effect has been, and whether actual benefits have accrued.  One can but hope.

Title Professional Services Partnership
Decision Taker Councillor Scott
Date of Decision 01/08/2008
Implementation Date 08/08/2008
Publication Date 04/08/2008
Details of Decisions
To award the Professional Services Partnership contract to Amtec Consulting Plc for the agreed rates subject to satisfactory contractual terms and conditions being agreed between both parties for a four year contract subject to a quarterly review of the Business Transformation Programme to commence on 1 September 2008.
The Director of Strategic Resources to award all call off arrangements within the scope of the Medium Term Financial Strategy, Professional Services Partnership to Amtec Consulting Plc for projects to the value of the Business Transformation Budget currently £9.5 million. Projects to be awarded in accordance with officer delegated powers under Contract Regulations.
The Council has been running a rigorous and successful business transformation programme since October 2006, which has enabled its medium-term financial strategy to be structured around the delivery of cashable savings through business improvement, yielding the lowest Council Tax increases for any unitary Council in England. It plans over the next two years to strengthen this programme and to extend its scope, making significant investment decisions about its asset and infrastructure base.
Hitherto, the people and services deployed across the programme have been sourced separately by the Council. This means that a large number ofdirect and sub-contracted contracts are in place, which adds a significant management and administration overhead to the programme. It also means that key personnel within the change programme are engaged on separate rolling contracts which introduces risks of fragmentation, and allows the possibility of poaching.
It is therefore recommended to introduce a Professional Services Partnership (PSP) to mitigate these risks and to provide a coherent structure for its procurement of the third-party services into the programme. The purpose of the Professional Services Partnership (PSP), is to provide through a single services agreement the bulk of the business transformation, infrastructure development, capability enhancement and performance management activities procured by the Council from third parties.

The benefits to the Council are:-
1. By replacing the existing range of contracts with a more mutually secure commercial services contract with one supplier eliminate the risk to the Council’s core financial and business strategy of its supplier base fragmenting or being subjected to poaching by other clients
2. Regularise the contractual framework and standardise the terms on which such services are supplied
3. Rationalise the supplier base, reducing the management and administrative overhead associated with carrying the multiplicity of contracts that have been used hitherto
4. Give ready visibility over all services pricing and ensure that pricing is consistent and fair
5. Enable the full range of in-scope third-party services to be account-managed through a single framework through one supplier and one set ofbusiness arrangements, permitting a strategic and coherent approach
6. Provide access to a wider range of skill sets and capabilities and reduce the dependence on sub-contractors
7. Through the provision of management or specialist expertise drive performance improvement of in-house services and sustain the higher performance levels through performance agreements

The PSP will focus on those opportunities where business and performance improvement are to be realised through an investment in the Council’s asset base and core capabilities, not simply through ‘soft’ services. In other words, there is an expectancy that a significant and growing proportion of the PSP’s work is to be linked to the deployment of efficiencies and the utilisation of prudent financial arrangements to achieve investment in more efficient and productive assets, workplaces, ICT infrastructure and systems, collaborations that exploit synergies or scale economies and business systems and processes. Equally, the PSP is not intended to be deployed
only on an internal improvement agenda: it is intended to utilise the partnership to enhance and accelerate improvements in customer services and on the growth agenda.
The PSP is not intended to be or to become a business process outsourcing arrangement. Its focus will be on value-add activities requiring skills or other capabilities that the Council cannot affordably retain in-house at appropriate levels or quality. If a group of routine (‘transactional’) activities are considered to be able to be procured more economically at matching or better quality than can be provided by in-house teams, typically because of scale economies in process, then the PSP would be the vehicle to bring that arrangement about, but the arrangement would not sit within the PSP.

Activities of the PSP
1. Project and programme management of transformation and other improvement activities, utilising the Council’s programme and project management disciplines and systems
2. The provision of senior management in interim positions to direct transformation and other improvement activities
3. Management consultancy services across the range of transformation and other improvement activities
4. Procurement of third party services not undertaken directly by the PSP
5. Supply chain optimisation and management of the supplier base working on transformation and other improvement activities

Procurement Process
The Office of Government Commerce Buying Solutions provide national framework arrangements whereby the procurement process has been undertaken within European Procurement Directives enabling the Council to
reduce the cost of the procurement process and comply with European Legislation. The frameworks offer value for money rates for the Council.

Unsuccessful Procurement Process
Initially a previous unsuccessful tender process was undertaken to appont a Professional Services Partner using the Project Management and Full Design Team Services Framework within the OGC Buying Solutions
portfolio of ‘Catalist’ frameworks. There were five suppliers on the framework who were invited to express an interest in the tender, to which all five suppliers responded.
Of the five suppliers who expressed an interest, one supplier (Supplier A), submitted a tender. Following a desktop evaluation of the tender, Supplier A was invited to a presentation stage to clarify their submission further.
One of the key benefits to the Council of the Professional Services Partnership is to ensure that the current supplier base is not fragmented or subject to poaching, particularly with those suppliers that are currently
contributing to the Medium Term Financial Strategy and who therefore present a significant risk to the authority by not being tied to a secure commercial services contract. A key evaluation criteria therefore, was how
the supplier would demonstrate a seamless transition from the existing fragmented arrangements to a single secure arrangement. This involved the supplier ensuring that they had appropriate transitional arrangements with
the key suppliers the Council has currently contributing to the Medium Term Financial Strategy. While the supplier demonstrated at the desktop evaluation stage that they could meet the criteria, at the presentation stage, it was evident that there were not secure arrangements in place with the key suppliers and consequently this presented a significant risk to the Council. Supplier A was requested to confirm that transitional arrangements were in place before the evaluation could be taken further and as a result of this, Supplier A failed to demonstrate this requirement and consequently the tender process was terminated. The Council therefore reconsidered its options in procuring the Professional Services Partner. Since there was insufficient time to run a full EU Tender Process, alternative frameworks were considered from the OGC Buying Solutions framework contracts.

Successful Procurement Process
The Functional Consultancy Framework within the OGC Buying Solutions portfolio of ‘Catalist’ frameworks, covers the scope and activities required of the PSP. There are eight suppliers within the framework who were all invited to participate in the tender. To ensure absolute integrity of process, the PCC e-tendering system ( (DELTA) was used for all appropriate communication to and from suppliers.
The tender process was carried out in three main consecutive stages:
• Expression of interest: to identify interested suppliers within the framework who wished to tender;

• Invitation to tender: suppliers who expressed an interest are invited to respond formally to the service specification; and

• Evaluation where all bids are evaluated against pre-determined criteria for quality and cost followed by a Presentation Stage

The pre-determined methodology adopted for the evaluation of tenders was on a cost/quality ratio of 20/80. Since the rate prices submitted by the suppliers on the framework were of a similar value, the emphasis of the
evaluation was based primarily on the quality aspect of the submission hence a weighting of 80%.
The quality criteria below were weighted according to importance:-

Independence from Third Parties 10%
Access to Consultants Appropriate Personnel 15%
Seamless Contribution to the Partnership 20%
Understanding of the Council’s Requirements 20%
Delivery 25%
Cultural Fit 10%

The evaluation of the Quality Submissions – ITT Stage was undertaken by:-

Contracts Lawyer (Governance and Commercial)
Procurement Manager (Policy and Systems)
Trainee Lawyer

The evaluation process consisted of panel members scoring tenders against the above pre-determined quality criteria based on the following scoring mechanism marked out of ten:-

1 to 4 marks Below Expectation
5 to 8 marks Meets Expectation
9 to 10 marks Exceeds Expectation

A score of 5 marks or more on each criteria qualified a bidder to go forward to the Presentation Stage. The Presentation Stage involved the supplier presenting further detail on four aspects of the quality criteria:-

Seamless Contribution to the Partnership 25%
Understanding of the Council’s Requirements 25%
Delivery 35%
Cultural Fit 15%

The evaluation of the Quality Submissions – Presentation Stage was undertaken by:-

Director of Strategic Resources
Solicitor to the Council
Procurement Manager (Policy and Systems)

A representative of Nixon Peabody was also in attendance in the capacity of advisor to the Council and a Trainee Lawyer as an observer. In addition, at the Presentation Stage, points of clarification were raised.
Following the presentation stage, the quality assessment was re-evaluated and the cost / quality ratio of 20/80 was applied and results entered into the evaluation matrix.
Following evaluation, the tender submitted by the above-named contractor represents the most economically advantageous tender in terms of price and quality and accordingly represents best value to the Council. It is
recommended that the Professional Services Partnership contract is awarded to Amtec Consulting Plc.

Contract and Project Management
Projects will be managed within the framework based on the principle of gateways at the following stages:-

Initial Scoping
Draft Business Case
Full Detailed Business Case (including deliverables and outcomes)

A client commissioning manager will be responsible for monitoring the performance of the contractor against the individual project gateway stages stated above on a monthly basis. The partnership will be subject to a quarterly review of projects and subject to satisfactory performance, workstreams within the Business Transformation Programme will be agreed on a quarterly basis between the Director of Strategic Resources and the contractor’s Lead Consultant.
The contract is subject to the OGC Buying Solutions Functional Consultancy Framework and its associated standard terms and conditions. Should the contractor perform unsatisfactorily against the broader contract, then the framework has provision for the termination of the contract within the terms and conditions.
Alternative Options Considered
Alternative options considered were:-
To continue with present arrangements with individual consultancies. This was discounted on the basis of not fulfilling the benefits highlighted in the report and which in certain cases involves compliance with full EU procurement rules.
To tender the contract through a full EU Compliant Tender Procedure. This was discounted on the basis that the tender period would be in excess of three months, be costly in administration and that there were publicly available contracts that had already been procured through the EU Procurement Directives. There is limited time available to run a full procurement process and the impact of not awarding a contract in the near future will potentially have a bearing on the savings highlighted for return within the Business Transformation Programme.

Reference : Key Decision? Yes

If you have any queries regarding these decisions please contact the decision maker highlighted or the Governance Team on 01733 452323/452447/452238

Some general questions:

1. As Barnacle Bill said, this contract appears to go up to £9.5 million. Has  this been exceeded?

2. “A client commissioning manager will be responsible for monitoring the performance of the contractor against the individual project gateway stages stated above on a monthly basis. The partnership will be subject to a quarterly review of projects and subject to satisfactory performance, workstreams within the Business Transformation Programme will be agreed on a quarterly basis between the Director of Strategic Resources and the contractor’s Lead Consultant.” Has all that happened? Does it still happen?

3. A general question: is this contract related in any way to the 23 year contract recently signed by Matthew Lee? Did the length of 23 years relate in some way to the calculation of “cashable savings”. Why did he sign a contract so far into the future? Were Amtec or any of their sub-contractors involved in that negotiation?

4. How does this contract tie in with the recent formation of the Peterborough Delivery/Development Partnership, which features at least one of the Amtec sub-contractors and has a £1 million plus budget? Where does that budget come from?

Other questions? Are these the wrong questions? Do you have other questions, or better still answers? It’s not going to be possible to ask the Council. They took 18 months to answer a few straight questions about the use of consultants, and it’s not settled yet. The people are going to have to work it out for themselves.