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Maidstone Design and Sustainability Development Plan Document Update
The Interim Local Plan Review Director introduced the report and referenced the previous decision taken by the Committee in September 2021.
An initial market engagement exercise had taken place in October 2021 but no submissions had been received. In response, several companies that had visited the portal were contacted and officers were advised that due to the current high demand for consultancy services combined with staffing issues, companies were reluctant to engage in pre-tender exercises. A formal tender exercise was undertaken between 15 November to 8 December 2021, followed by a further tender period between 10 December 2021 to 14 January 2022. As a result, one bid had been received from an international multi-disciplinary built consultancy.
The company had since been interviewed and was felt to possess the range of skills and background required to complete the work. In order to secure the consultant and avoid further delay, it was recommended that the all-Member briefing take place after the consultant was appointed rather than prior to their appointment as previously agreed.
In response to questions, the Interim Local Plan Review Director confirmed that there were no immediate concerns arising from the possible prioritisation of the work required after having entered into a contract. It was reiterated that the company had a good reputation within the market.
The Committee expressed support for the company’s appointment, prior to the all-Member engagement exercise to secure their availability.
1. Officers be authorised to enter into a contract for the preparation of the Design and Sustainability Development Plan Document in advance of the all-Member briefing session required by the 21 September 2021 resolution of the Committee, subject to:
a. An assurance from officers that the all-Member engagement session be conducted in advance of any significant work being undertaken post contract.