My motion – set out below, proposes that the council go a step further than legally required to by government and instead adopt stricter guidance that applies to central government when it comes to dealing with suppliers.
Currently, the council must ensure that suppliers are not tax evaders and acting illegally. But central government operates under slightly stricter rules which require that their suppliers are also not aggressively avoiding paying their fair share of tax.
The officer recommendation to my motion was largely that the council was doing what it was required to under law. The report did however, offer to report on instances of supplier non compliance annually or when required.
At this morning’s cabinet meeting I explained the central government rules and how they could be applied to Devon County Council.
I raised the shady dealings of Facebook and Google and said that it was in the council’s best interests to adopt stricter procurement measures as if every local authority did so, it would encourage far more businesses to comply with the spirit of the law and not just the letter of the law.
Also, there is not currently a level playing field for businesses, with big business able to afford expensive accountants to move their money around to offshore tax havens, while smaller businesses are essentially penalised.
Before I addressed the cabinet, Cllr Hart moved the officer recommendations, which was that nothing would change except a more frequent reporting system.
However, after I spoke, Cllr Hart conferred with colleagues and said he would bring the item back to the 13 April cabinet meeting, with an updated report.
It will be debated and voted on, at the 12 May full council meeting.
I have asked for a list of Devon County Council’s major suppliers and contractors.
Here’s the webcast – it is item 12 -http://www.devoncc.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/216079
Here’s my motion and also the officer’s response report – item 12 – http://www.devon.gov.uk/index/councildemocracy/decision_making/cma/cma_document.htm?cmadoc=agenda_exc_20160309.html