Lots of residents have been in touch with us about RISE missing out on a £5m contract.
We wholeheartedly share your concerns about RISE losing this contract, and Labour Councillors raised those concerns at the Policy & Resources committee last week, with our Finance Lead describing this as a “perverse decision”.
Unfortunately, East Sussex County Council led the procurement process for the Portal service, and as Councillors it is not in our power to overturn an independent procurement decision.
However, we have been raising concerns, particularly about how social value has been considered in this procurement process.
We are reassured that the administration has committed to ensuring this situation won’t be able to happen again, but clearly it should not have happened in the first place, and social value requirements on procurement should not be ignored when the council works with other organisations (in this case East Sussex County Council and the Police & Crime Commissioner).
Labour Councillor Dan Yates has contacted the Council’s Monitoring Officer in his capacity as Chair of the Audit & Standards Committee, asking for a review of this process.
In addition, at Policy & Resources last week, Labour brokered a cross-party deal to provide financial help to support transformation for community and voluntary organisations like RISE.
We gained cross-party support for our proposal to set up a Community and Voluntary Sector Transformation Fund which could help RISE and other organisations find new sources of income, and we hope these plans will help mitigate the impact of this contract loss and help protect organisations from potential funding issues in the future.
Additionally, we established a potential source of capital funding to support our community groups to be able to consider applying through Labour’s Community Asset Transfer policy to take on the valuable community buildings they operate from to give them further security for the future.
Thank you to everyone who has got in touch with us about such an important issue, and please rest assured that your Labour Councillors will continue to raise this and look for further opportunities to support vital organisations like RISE going forward.
Brighton & Hove Labour Group of Councillors