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Grenfell: TMO director told Rydon it was in first place for contract

23 October 2020
Peter Maddison

A director of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) admitted that he told contractor Rydon that its price was in first place to win the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower prior to a contract award but denied it was “irregular” to do so.

Giving evidence to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry for a second day, Peter Maddison denied that he had told Rydon it was going to get the contract.

But he admitted that he did tell Rydon it was in “first place” in March 2014. Asked by lead counsel to the Inquiry Richard Millett QC if he thought giving Rydon such an indication was “irregular”, Maddison denied that it was. Asked if it was “unwise” he said: “I think any dialogue at this stage did bring about a risk of challenge, that’s why we took some initial legal advice around this approach because it was a very difficult position we were in.

“We either had to re-procure the whole tender, we were in a situation where we’d only had five tenderers who had gone down to three, we’d actually only got three tenders, so we were clear there wasn’t a very strong market there. So the idea of re-procuring wasn’t an attractive one at that stage. We didn’t have the option for negotiating with the three tenderers who had submitted tenders. The only option open to us, other than to re-tender, was to work with the existing contractor. That did carry with it some potential risk of challenge, and we took legal advice on that.”

Millett asked if Maddison thought that telling Rydon their price and presentation and documentation was in first place was improper “in the sense that it wasn’t compliant with the rules on public procurement for public works”.

Maddison replied: “I wouldn’t call it improper. I would say that it did factor in some potential risks of challenge within the EU procurement rules. However, we took legal advice on that. The advice was not that it was illegal or improper; it advised us that there were particular risks, and those are commercial risks that we might want to consider.”

The Inquiry continues.