The government-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has launched an investigation into a contract award after concerns were raised about a possible conflict of interests.
MRW has learned that the contract for a study into compost production for WRAP Cymru was awarded to a consultancy with links to the manager overseeing the study.
Lance Jones, WRAP’s organics project manager, Wales, was one of two directors of EnviResource Consulting from its launch in 2011 until January 2012.
The contract for the project was awarded to EnviResource in August 2012.
A WRAP spokesperson said a thorough investigation into the procurement had been launched and appealed for concerned parties to speak to the organisation directly.
When MRW spoke to Jones he insisted the procurement had been through the proper process with an independent panel, and that “all of the rules were followed to a ‘T’”.
He said EnviResource were “chosen as the best option, within budget, and were offered the contract”.
Jones said he no longer had any relationship with the firm other than a “client-contractor relationship”.
David Davies, founder and current director of EnviResource told MRW Jones had been the “lead figure” at WRAP overseeing the procurement.
Davies said he and Jones had been colleagues at a firm called CWM Environmental for many years before he left and launched EnviResource with Jones as a director. But, he said the firm was not trading during that period and Jones left when he “realised his future lay with WRAP”.
EnviResource had behaved properly, Davies said.
In a statement WRAP said: “We are grateful to MRW for alerting us to a potential issue with this tender. WRAP prides itself on very high procurement standards. As a result we are undertaking a thorough investigation of the procurement process.
“While the investigation is on-going it would not be appropriate for us to comment on the individual details of this case. However we will report on our findings and any action we are taking once the investigation has ended. In the meantime, it would help our investigation if the concerned party that has spoken to MRW came to us directly to speak to us about their concerns.”
Welsh shadow environment minister Russell George AM (Con) said: “It is vital that all organisations in receipt of public money are open and transparent in their affairs so the public can have confidence that their money is being spent wisely. I acknowledge that these allegations are being examined and will follow the investigation with interest.”
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