Aug 092012

A new process to prevent contracts with East Lothian Council being obtained by criminals or their associates has been agreed.

Lothian and Borders Police are working with the local authority to share vital information relating to businesses that could be influenced by serious organised crime groups. Senior council officials will now be able to apply to the police for certain information relating to individuals linked to the company bidding to supply services. They will then be able to use this information to determine whether companies should be awarded the contracts.

The move is designed to ensure that organised criminals do not get a foothold and undermine legitimate businesses operating in the Force area.

Strict processes have been put in place to ensure the protection and security of all of the shared information, and the process will operate under the strict guidelines of the Data Protection Act 1998. The scheme has already received a high level of support from other local authorities and agencies in the Force area, including City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Borders Council, and NHS Lothian.

East Lothian Area Commander, Superintendent Phil O’Kane, said:

Lothian and Borders Police, along with our partners, is committed to restricting and removing opportunities for criminal financial gain. We want to ensure that public money does not line the pockets of organised criminals, and we will do everything in our power to enforce this.

This protocol will allow us to keep services in East Lothian of a high standard, and continue our fight against serious and organised crime.

East Lothian Council’s Chief Executive, Angela Leitch, added:

Each year, local authorities award major contracts for goods and services that can amount to millions of pounds.

Both elected members and senior officials have a responsibility to not only ensure best value for the public purse but also that the award process takes due care when assessing the financial stability of the bidders.

This process will assist legitimate businesses and help to strengthen the local economy.