Doncaster Council in breach of contracts worth £1.8m

Doncaster's  Civic Offices.
Doncaster's Civic Offices.

Staff are being warned that they could face disciplinary action after Doncaster Council was found to be in breach of contracts worth £1.8million.

The local authority’s Audit Committee was reassured that further breaches will be dealt with ‘severely’ after hearing details about the blunders in the learning opportunities, children and young people department at a meeting on Tuesday.

An audit investigation was undertaken after the contract breaches were identified concerning deals dating from 2011 to March this year.

Councillors heard that a number of actions had been taken, including warning staff they could face being disciplined.

A total of 79 officers have also been provided with information reminding them of the proper contract procurement rules and democratic reporting processes.

The report said: “Any such matters that occur in the future may be considered under the council’s disciplinary procedure.”

The largest of the contract breaches - £1.4m annually - concerned a deal with White Rose Special Educational Needs School and College Placements.

Delays in the work starting due to a lack of resource in the region was given as a reason for the breach.

A new agreement was put in place in October 2015 after the breaches with the White Rose deal were flagged up.

The report said: “The director has already taken steps and implemented some of the actions.

“These include a mandatory training session on the decision-making process within the council for all senior management within the directorate, and an email has been sent by the director to all senior staff to outline the importance and expectation of following corporate processes and the disciplinary consequences should they not be followed in the future.”

A review of information recording is also under way in a bid to ensure similar mistakes do not happen in future.