Crackdown would block cronyism

Tighter control of Christchurch City Council staff spending is on the cards.

City councillors will tomorrow vote on new contract management and procurement rules intended to keep a closer watch on tendering and minimise the opportunity for cronyism.

Big concerns were raised by some councillors last year about the way large contracts were being awarded and about jobs given to favoured contractors.

If the policy is approved, staff will have to report quarterly to the council's audit and risk committee on any contracts worth more than $50,000 that did not get put out for tender and give reasons for that.

A report by corporate support unit manager Sue Chappell said that before the September 2010 earthquake, the council spent up to $400 million a year on external goods, services and works.

Estimated spending in the current financial year, which ends on Saturday, was between $700m and $800m.

Staff had identified "a lack of clarity" over delegations concerning panel agreements and where their value could exceed $500,000.

The current delegation limit is $500,000.

"Staff therefore recommend that all panel agreements are presented to council for approval," the report said.

The audit and risk committee would also be asked to consider quarterly spending on each supplier within a panel agreement.

The policy would provide ratepayers with "visibility and transparency" over tendering and would give staff and management "clear direction and common understanding" on procurement and purchasing.

Councillors are also being asked to approve the draft Christchurch transport plan for consultation from the middle of next month to the end of August.

The plan outlines the council's 30-year vision for the city's transport system and brings together other council transport policies.

It lists the main challenges as increasing congestion, changing travel patterns, quake damage and recovery, ensuring safety and minimising environmental effects.

The plan will include:

The development of a new road classification.

Building connections to Christchurch motorways.

Public transport rapid- transit investigations, protecting future public transport corridors and looking into park-and-ride facilities.

Investment in major cycle routes.

Defining freight routes.

Parking management plans.

Streetscape improvements.

Also on the table will be a recommendation for a draft waste-management and minimisation plan.

The Press