MEMBERS of West Dunbartonshire Council's Corporate Services Committee have given their blessing to plans to award a contract to a firm that will conduct electronic counting for the 2017 Local Government Elections.
Members of the local authority's committee noted a retrospective decision to award the contract by West Dunbartonshire Council chief executive, Joyce White.
A report which went before members of the Corporate Services Committee last Wednesday at Clydebank Town Hall, said: "Committee is requested to note the decision of the Chief Executive, acting in the capacity of Returning Officer for West Dunbartonshire, to approve the execution of the contractual documentation for the equipment, supplies and services necessary to ensure the proper conduct of the Local Government Elections 2017."
The report also goes into the background of electronic counting systems used around the country.
It stated: "Since 2007, Local Government Elections in Scotland have effectively required
the use of an electronic counting system in order to efficiently and effectively deliver the election, due to the increased complexity in counting for Single Transferable Vote elections.
"In 2012 this was delivered centrally by two companies (Logica and Opt2vote)
following a tender by the Scottish Government, for a unified Scotland wide
system, ensuring consistency and accuracy throughout the Council areas.
"The election was generally accepted as having been well run in 2012, and a
similar procedure was followed in 2015 /16 for the award of the contract for
"The same two companies, now named CGI and Idox Elections, were again
successful, with Idox acting as sub-contractor to CGI."
One issue, the report flagged up, was the timescale of the implementation of the new contract, which local authorities had to sign up for by November, prompting the chief executive to award the contract back in November.
As a result of the timescale the Tendering Committee at the local authority did not get the chance to review the situation, or make recommendations on it.
The report said: "Whilst the procurement of the system by the Scottish Government was
completed by December 2015, the Council was only provided with the contractual framework in October 2016 with costs being confirmed in November, permitting signature by the mid-November deadline.
"With the short timeframe for the Council to indicate acceptance of the Contractual Terms and Conditions falling before the Corporate Services Committee in November and the final contract requiring to be signed by 18th November 2016, the decision was taken that it was necessary to proceed by way of a decision by the Chief Executive with a report to the next appropriate Committee seeking to note the award."
The cost of the equipment, supplies, services and ballots amounts to £69,429 with reimbursement being due by the Scottish Government of the equipment, services and software costs amounting to £53 923.
The balance of £15,506 relating to the ballots, will be met from the WDC Election Budget in the normal manner.
Members did note the decision to award the contract but Councillor George Black felt the local authority was 'press-ganged' into it somewhat, adding: "Why were we pushed into this by Scottish Government's timescales, we should write to them make them know our displeasure."
This year's Local Government Elections take place on Thursday, May 4.