MELVILLE council has been given a fail by the Civil Contractors Federation WA for not being transparent enough when it tenders out work and awards contracts.
The council was given a paltry 1/10 by the CCFWA, while neighbouring Cockburn was given a big 8.5/10 thumbs-up – second only to Joondalup as the state’s most transparent tenderer.
The CCFWA analysed minute papers from council meetings to come up with its transparency scores, examining the big bucks councils award to contractors to carry out roadworks, maintenance, development, landscaping, and maintaining parks and golf courses.
Melville only complied with two of the seven areas the CCFWA says should be made public, and it only got half-marks for those because the information isn’t published in the next council minutes.
But the report hasn’t been without controversy, with the Herald’s sister publication the Perth Voice discovering Bayswater council had been incorrectly fingered as too secretive.
The CCFWA report, released No one at Cockburn apparently saw the irony of asking what people think, then throwing up a blocker. Monday, earned the council a full page story in The West Australian headlined: “Bayswater earns ‘most secretive’ gong as contract process slammed”.
But when the Voice queried the CCFWA over its finding, given what our journo sees in council minutes, the federation admitted it had got it wrong and decided to award Bayswater a “pass”.
The most recent tender Bayswater awarded at its July 26 included the companies that tendered, their scores, and an explanation of why the winner was the best fit for the job.
All it excluded from the CCFWA’s transparency wishlist were the prices the tenderers bid – which most councils leave out –and the price the winner paid.
CCFWA CEO Andy Graham admitted they’d got it wrong: “I’m grateful you brought this to our attention as it does appear Bayswater are generally transparent in their tender evaluations.”
Mr Graham said the researcher based Bayswater’s score on two reports from council minutes that had no extra information. One was a job relating to a slip lane in Morley in January 2022 which wasn’t priced high enough to go out to open tender, and the other was for a tender for the management services at Morley Sport and Recreation Centre from July 2021.
“But as you rightly point out, both of these are not typical,” Mr Graham said. “From the evidence of those other tenders it’s clear that Bayswater actually deserved a ‘pass’ mark.
“For now we have urgently amended the report to omit reference to Bayswater and will revise the report ASAP. I will also be in touch with the council directly to clarify, apologise for the error and endorse their transparent practices.”
by DAVID BELL and STEVE GRANT