The good bill (GLP) filed an application for judicial review against the East of England Broadband Network (E2BN) for their alleged decision to “adjudicate illegally‘£70bn’all net zero‘ Framework agreement Group of placesthat they claim to be a mic”company with little expertise in reducing emissions“.
Just to give some context. The E2BN is a private company which has been set up by a number of local authorities to help deliver faster and more secure broadband internet connectivity services to UK schools and the wider education sector, as well than abroad. Meanwhile, the British government all net zero aims to provide services, products, solutions and support for the public sector’s transition to Net Zero.
REMARK: Net Zero reflects an organization’s goal to eliminate as much carbon emissions as they produce.
Groupe Place is a small consulting, project management and research firm based in Cornwall with approximately 20 years of experience in the field of education. The group helped establish the free schools program and participated in the first-ever bid that was submitted to the Secretary of State in 2010.
It should be noted that framework agreements generally define the conditions under which public bodies can award contracts to suppliers without going through regular and open bidding processes. Therefore, they must be rigorously drafted, with clear guidelines, to avoid possible abuse.
The legal challenge
The Good Law Project (GLP) asked why E2BN, which describes itself as a “regional broadband consortiumwould be allowed to draft such an agreement. The GPL also claims that the deal provides Groupe Place with a way to “controlling how the entire public sector, from the NHS to local government offices, will award contracts, even loosely related to ‘climate’ issues.”
On top of that, the GPL wonders how the Place group ended up”being the only company to have submitted a bid for the right to administer the framework” and if E2BN and the Place group had a pre-existing relationship.
That’s a lot of power and responsibility for a business… so small that Companies House classifies it as a “micro business”.
Calling it “the net-zero framework agreement” is not hyperbole. It really covers everything Net Zero. £70 billion is almost the entire annual budget of the Department for Education.
E2BN’s decision raises far more questions than a well-run framework agreement process should. The UK’s Net Zero response deserves much better than this.
On the face of it, E2BN’s decisions and conduct regarding the Everything Net Zero framework appear to breach the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. They appear to have created a mechanism by which billions of public contracts can be awarded by Place Group. to unspecified suppliers without open, transparent and fair competition.
Place Group confirmed that it would be responsible for managing tenders for public sector contracting bodies, but added that its role was simply to save the public sector money and ensure that the Net Zero strategy translates into concrete projects that are implemented. .
Location Group Declaration
Our role is to save money for the public sector (we saved £26m for schools in the South West) and to ensure that the Net Zero strategy translates into practical projects that are implemented work. The Everything Net Zero framework has a limit of £70 billion that can be purchased through it.
Place Group was NOT awarded a £70bn contract. Like all frameworks supporting public procurement, our costs are covered by a very small framework levy that suppliers pay if they win contracts.
Net Zero is a critical program for the UK and the world, and implementing an effective strategy to reduce emissions in line with science and deliver the best value for money to the public purse is our mission. We help help the public sector meet its net zero obligations. The UK has pledged to cut emissions by 78% by 2035 and reach net zero by 2050.
The GPL has published its Statement of facts and reasons in full (here), although they acknowledged that “maybe there is a reasonable explanation” for the way everything was handled and therefore asked the Supreme Court (Queen’s Bench Division) to give E2BN more time to provide “good answers“.
The legal challenge itself is crowdfunded here and has so far managed to raise around £28,000 of its stretch goal of £40,000.