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News and Comment February 2012

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13 February - Is Bexley council breaking EU law too?

I don’t like days when this blog has to wander into legal territory because I have no particular expertise in that area and studying the detail takes more time than is usually available. Today’s report is taken at face value from Notomob where some members are employed in legal capacities. It concerns Bexley council’s contract for the CCTV system operated by Siemens.

Council minutesCouncil meetings clearly indicate that the original plan was to pay Siemens somewhat over the odds for the installation and allow them to flog off spare capacity built into the system to spy on residents of other boroughs. Some of this income would find its way back to Bexley council.

It later became apparent that a number of such liaisons had been looked into but the proposed partners, some a very long way from Bexley, were playing hard to get. No one actually signed up. The most recent Public Realm Committee meeting had very little to say on the subject. Maybe other councils are more aware of the pitfalls than Bexley is.

Notomob maintain that “Bexley Council is and has been exploiting this contract in contravention of the Local Government contract regulations 2006 and in breach of the Local Government Act 2000 section 3 sub-section 2, and also in breach of EC Directive 2004/18/EC”. They have been in contact with the Audit Commission to voice their concerns and after a preliminary look at Notomob’s case the Commission has requested a formal complaint. If that is upheld Bexley council will have no chance of recouping the extra money it gave to Siemens. Not that that changes matters a great deal, in the two years of the contract’s existence it has earned nothing anyway. Thank goodness we are paying the highest salaries to get the very best people to run Bexley council. Just think what a mess we would be in if Eric Pickles and Elwyn Bryant had their way.

Bexley’s original grandiose plans for the new CCTV system may be downloaded from here. (PDF file. 292 KB)


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