Posted by: John Brace | August 28, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: 90 Pages of North West Regional Development Agency’s Contract With Wirral Council for Business Grants Program


The astute among you will no doubt be aware that the North West Regional Development Agency was abolished last year, however I would guess that in its absence that its functions under the contract are now done by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

There is more to the contract than the first ninety pages, although the other pages can wait for another day. The contract between the North West Regional Development Agency and Wirral Council was for business grants and has been the subject of recent whistle blowing concerns.

Page 1 (this is just a cover page with the North West Regional Development Agency’s contact details on)

Page 2 (this is the first page dated 17th September 2009 stating it’s a grant funding arrangement between Wirral Council and the North West Regional Development Agency for business start-up)

Page 3 (this is an index page to the contract detailing various sections and page numbers)

Page 4 (this is the second index page to the contract detailing various sections and annexes)

Page 5 (this is the first page of the contract which details who it’s between, what it’s for and starts with a list of definitions of terms)

Page 6 (this continues the list of definitions of various terms in the contract)

Page 7 (this continues the list of definitions of various terms in the contract)

Page 8 (this continues the list of definitions of various terms in the contract)

Page 9 (this continues the list of definitions of various terms in the contract)

Page 10 (this continues the list of definitions of various terms in the contract)

Page 11 (this continues the list of definitions of various terms in the contract)

Page 12 (this continues the list of definitions of various terms in the contract)

Page 13 (this ends the list of definitions of various terms in the contract and details how certain references are to be interpreted)

Page 14 (this continues with how certain references are to be interpreted and starts to detail the roles of the North West Regional Development Agency and the accountable body)

Page 15 (this continues with detail as to the roles of the North West Regional Development Agency and the accountable body and goes on to representations and warranties)

Page 16 (this continues the representations and warranties)

Page 17 (this details conditions and what the accountable body’s obligations are)

Page 18 (this details when the contract will start, end and starts a section on consents)

Page 19 (this has sections on public procurement and the accountable body’s contractors and employees)

Page 20 (this has sections on onward liability, legislation, material alteration of the project and insurance)

Page 21 (this continues the section on insurance and has sections on reinstatement and notification by the accountable body)

Page 22 (this continues the section on notification and has sections on further assurance, good faith and co-operation and indemnity)

Page 23 (this continues the section on co-operation and indemnity and starts a section on monitoring of providers)

Page 24 (this has sections on provision of information by the accountable body and inspection and audit facilities)

Page 25 (this continues the section on inspection and audit facilities)

Page 26 (this has sections on maximum grant and conditions)

Page 27 (this continues the section on conditions and starts a section on repayment)

Page 28 (this continues the section on repayment and starts a section on review letter and variations)

Page 29 (this section is on events of default, remedies and termination)

Page 30 (this continues the section on events of default, remedies and termination)

Page 31 (this continues the section on events of default, remedies and termination)

Page 32 (this continues the section on events of default, remedies and termination and starts sections on novation, post completion and publicity)

Page 33 (this continues the section on publicity and has sections on North West Regional Development Agency logo & England Northwest’s brand and European Regional Development Fund funding)

Page 34 (this continues the section on European Regional Development Fund funding and has a section on intellectual property rights)

Page 35 (this continues the section on intellectual property rights and starts a section on reputation of the agency)

Page 36 (this continues the section on reputation of the agency and has sections on assignment and confidentiality)

Page 37 (this continues with the section on confidentiality and starts a section on Freedom of Information)

Page 38 (this continues the section on Freedom of Information and starts a section on Data Protection)

Page 39 (this continues the section on Data Protection and starts a section on default or termination of accountable body)

Page 40 (this has sections on status of accountable body, obligation to use CRM and notices)

Page 41 (this has sections on Value Added Tax, jurisdiction and miscellaneous)

Page 42 (this continues the miscellaneous section)

Page 43 (this continues the miscellaneous section and requires the accountable body to comply with obligations in the schedule)

Page 44 (this is the title page for Schedule 1 (Service Providers))

Page 45 (this is the start of the list of service providers)

Page 46 (this is the end of the list of service providers)

Page 47 (this is the title page for Schedule 2 (European Regional Development Fund Offer Letter))

Page 48 (this is page 1 of the European Regional Development Fund Offer Letter)

Page 49 (this is page 2 of the European Regional Development Fund Offer letter)

Page 50 (this is page 3 of the European Regional Development Fund Offer letter)

Page 51 (this is what the grant recipients had to sign)

Page 52 (this is the offer letter and acknowledgement (schedule 1 (project specific conditions) part A (General) and part B (Delivery Structure))

Page 53 (this continues the project specific conditions part B (Delivery Structure) and part C (Equality and Diversity))

Page 54 (this continues the section on part C (Equality and Diversity))

Page 55 (this continues the section on part C (Equality and Diversity) and has part D (Intellectual Property Rights))

Page 56 (this is Schedule 2 (Project Specific Eligible Expenditure) Part A (Eligible Revenue Expenditure) and Part B (Eligible Capital Expenditure))

Page 57 (this is the first of the tables referred to in part A on salaries)

Page 58 (this is the second of the tables referred to in part A on overheads)

Page 59 (this is the third of the tables referred to in part A on premises)

Page 60 (this is the fourth of the tables referred to in part A on fees)

Page 61 (this is the fifth of the tables referred to in part A on other revenue)

Page 62 (this is the cover page for Schedule 3 (the targets))

Page 63 (this is part 1 of the Monitoring and Evaluation plan for Business Start-ups Phase II)

Page 64 (this continues the Monitoring and Evaluation Plan detailing its role)

Page 65 (this continues the role of the Monitoring and Evaluation Plan)

Page 66 (this details a timetable for receipt of project monitoring, other reports and claims)

Page 67 (this details the timetable after 30th April 2013)

Page 68 (this continues the timetable after 30th April 2013)

Page 69 (this details what the quarterly progress monitoring reports are)

Page 70 (this details what details are to be in the quarterly monitoring reports)

Page 71 (this continues with the details about what’s to be included in the quarterly monitoring reports)

Page 72 (this continues with the details about what’s to be included in the quarterly monitoring reports and has a section on record keeping/verification)

Page 73 (this continues the section on section on record keeping/verification)

Page 74 (this continues the section on record keeping/verification)

Page 75 (this continues the section on record keeping/verification)

Page 76 (this continues the section on record keeping/verification)

Page 77 (this continues the section on record keeping/verification and has sections on risk & management and programme milestones)

Page 78 (this continues the section on programme milestones)

Page 79 (this page starts Part 2 (Evaluation Plan))

Page 80 (this continues the Evaluation Plan)

Page 81 (this details the sources of information)

Page 82 (this continues with the sources of information)

Page 83 (this continues with the sources of information)

Page 84 (this details which organisations the evaluation findings are disseminated to)

Page 85 (this is an annex containing an agenda for monitoring/audit meetings)

Page 86 (this is the cover page for the offer letter and acknowledgement (Schedule 4 (Expenditure Profile)))

Page 87 (this is annex 2.1 a project finances input sheet)

Page 88 (this is annex 2.2 detailing project finances by year in £thousands)

Page 89 (this is a table (continued at page 90) detailing expenditure by quarter)

Page 90 (this is the second part of the table started on page 89)

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Responses

  1. 90 pages to protect public monies but when there appears to be malpractice how has this elaborate contract empowered agencies to take corrective action. To date nothing!! Why bother drafting such a contract if no-one will act upon its punitive clauses. Are the lawyers only there to confuse and complicate; is it a legal labry=nth that guarantees the salaries and fees of lawyers but like the story in Bleak House avails no-one else?

    Is the answer a lack of will as the necessary consequence of action would be the repayment of up to £1m of ERDF monies by WBC? Now that would be embarrassing but that is what this contract writes.

    A lack of will would explain the severe delays in the investigation that started in August 2011 at the latest. It would explain the studious avoidance of the words “Working Neighbourhoods” to which contract £919K was match funded (see John Braces’ earlier posting of a contract WBC/Enterprise Solutions. Now that studious avoidance was in the teeth of my complaints to councillors , to Dsurjit Tour Hrad off Legals and to the Press office that thewir Press release of 14th March 2013 was misleading the public and the press.

    The contract above repeatedly refers to the Local Partner (WBC) being responsible for the day-to-day management of the contract whereas A4e would conduct 3 monthly audits and assist with the operation of a Customer Relationship Manager {CRM} across the internet. Contrast this with the spartan ed notes of the Press release

    “Editors notes:

    The ISUS fund was an initiative of the then Northwest Development Agency (NWDA) that was administered and monitored by their contractor A4E. ”

    This is clearly contradicted both by my experience and by the NWDA/WBC contract itself.

    and Cllr Davies’s words

    .” However, given concerns that are well documented regarding the robustness of the Council’s Audit procedures in the past, the Council Leader Phil Davies and the Chief Executive, Graham Burgess ordered a review by the Interim Director of Finance into the draft reports.”

    rather gliding over the obdurate blindness of the WBC Counter Fraud department (for which I have copious evidence)

    AND
    “I am pleased that I am now in a position to state clearly that the ISUS report which has now been concluded does not criticise Wirral Council or its officers.

    Well I can say that Grant thornton did not investigate the council officers on whose testimony they were significantly reliant upon

    Why sdo I make these points ? Becausew I do not enjoy being spun like a top and I feel wirral has suffered enough from legal obfuscation. Jesus is required in the temple with a whip.

  2. […] from yesterdays’ blog post of the first ninety pages of the North West Development Agency’s contract with Wirra…, here are the next thirty-five pages. As European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) money was […]

  3. “Why bother drafting such a contract if no-one will act upon its punitive clauses.”

    It’s to protect the party’s interests as contracts are enforceable in a court of law if they are breached.

    ” Are the lawyers only there to confuse and complicate” – strangely enough I have Wirral Council’s contract for legal services too, but am trying to complete the uploading of this one first.

    “Is the answer a lack of will as the necessary consequence of action would be the repayment of up to £1m of ERDF monies by WBC?”

    The ERDF section of the contract is published and can be accessed here. It details what’s supposed to happen in the case of a breach.

    On the Enterprise Solutions contract for £919k, was that above the level at which there’s supposed to be competitive tendering etc? If so the results of the tender exercise would be interesting to make an FOI request about.

    I haven’t read the Grant Thornton reports (obviously) but you’d hope if they were being thorough for the sort of money they were being paid that they’d have requested a copy of the relevant contracts. If not I’m sure you can bring up those questions with Grant Thornton in their role as auditor and request that the necessary actions are taken.

  4. […] Agency in the form of grants. This was for the ISUS (intensive startup side of things). The first ninety pages of the contract with the North West Development Agency is here and a further thirty-six pages […]


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