Covid-19 contract claim poses moderate risk to SDC

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THE Southland District Council (SDC) is seeking legal advice following an issue over a Covid-19 contract claim.

A report presented to the services and assets committee meeting this week revealed one Covid-19 contract claim in relation to capital works posed a moderate risk to the council.

However, what it was in relation to was deemed commercially sensitive and could not be discussed in a public forum.

SDC group manager services and assets Matt Russell said while he was unable to disclose much detail, the issue was related to what costs were claimable by the council.

He acknowledged the council delivered on a range of different projects and operational contracts.

“Each contract requires an individual assessment.

“While 99% of those assessments have been relatively straight forward and headache-free, there has been one in particular that we’re still working through.”

It was described as a “difference of opinion” with a contractor.

Council had sought advice from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and lawyers to resolve the issue.

Project delivery manager Nick Hamlin said a review had been carried out of all current contracts to ensure the council was protected in case of future Covid-19 lockdowns.

During the community and strategy committee meeting in the afternoon, changes were made to the way Southland’s community service award recipients were chosen.

The report presented to councillors outlined new procedures and guidelines for the SDC community service awards which were described as a mechanism to acknowledge individuals who have contributed “outstanding” service to their community.

Last year, council staff reviewed the guidelines and found further clarification was needed on the award criteria, who could nominate an individual, who made allocation decisions, the type of celebration provided and how the associated costs would be met.

They noted the changes were needed to ensure consistency across community boards and provide clarity for the public and staff.

The new guidelines stated any person or group living in Southland who demonstrated a significant contribution to their community board area through leadership, volunteering or community service, was eligible to be nominated.

Joint awards, such as partners or a community group, would be acceptable and considered as one nomination.

This could be in the education, youth, health, sport, heritage, art, culture, environment, social wellbeing or similar sectors.

There would be one nomination round per year, closing on September 30.

However, special exceptions could apply in extraordinary circumstances.

Nominee application forms would be submitted to the council.

The next step would be for community boards to review the applications and pick up to two candidates to receive the award.

Awards could then be presented at a community board meeting or a community event.

Costs associated with the awards would be funded from the grants and donations budget.

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