CVS application for judicial review of contract decision is rejected

Liz Tapner, head of the social enterprise body Selnet, says fighting the challenge from Council for Voluntary Service Central Lancashire has been costly

Liz Tapner
Liz Tapner

An application by Council for Voluntary Service Central Lancashire for a judicial review of a decision by the social enterprise body Selnet has been rejected.

Mr Justice Michael Supperstone ruled there was no "procedural unfairness" on the part of Selnet in awarding a contract to provide a volunteer brokerage service in Preston and South Ribble to Age Concern Central Lancashire.

The CVS’s application scored less well than that of Age Concern, the judge said. In his ruling, dated 15 May, he ordered the CVS to pay £1,250 in costs to Selnet.

The CVS applied for the judicial review on 13 March, arguing that Selnet’s decision to award the £20,500 contract to Age Concern was flawed because the CVS was already providing a similar service funded by its own reserves.

Lancashire County Council commissioned Selnet to award contracts worth a total of £130,000 to create a county-wide strategic approach to volunteering last October.

Liz Tapner, chief executive at Selnet, said: "It has been a time-consuming and costly process fighting this legal challenge but it was vital to the directors and staff that we defend the excellent reputation of Selnet.

"The awarding process that Selnet put in place was transparent and fair. Selnet undertook the procurement of this work on behalf of Lancashire County Council and feel assured that our council colleagues will have faith in our processes and procedures in the future.

"While I recognise that CVS Central Lancashire was unhappy with the decision to award the contract to Age Concern Central Lancashire, I am disappointed that they should attempt to tarnish the reputation of Selnet with this legal challenge."

Wendy Hogg, chair of the CVS, said: "We are a bit surprised because we would not have gone forward with the application if we did not feel we had a good case. But the judge has made his decision; we’ll live with that and get on with the job."

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