Was the appointment of Rona Fairhead unlawful?

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In August 2014 it was announced by ex Deutsche Bank, Culture Secretary Sajid Javid that Rona Fairhead, an HSBC director was going to be the new Chair of the BBC Trust. I have written much about the circumstances surrounding this appointment which was thoroughly corrupt. My researches now lead me to conclude that it also breached the rules.

the law around public procurement is complex, but at the time of the recruitment the rules governing public procurement policy were contained in Procurement Policy Information Note 02/1118 January 2011. This policy document states:

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As the estimated price for the work (£20-£30,000) was below the EU threshold the Public Contracts Regulations do not apply. However, there is still a requirement to be open and transparent in public procurement. This memo was sent to Secretary of State Sajid Javid by the DCMS and is marked “Sensitive”, which is not surprising because it proposes circumventing the rules [not my highlighting]:


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The DCMS have told me the appointment was urgent. I don’t know why as there was an acting Chair, Diane Coyle:

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Below is the first reply I received from the Department of Culture Media and Sport to a Freedom of Information request:

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 09.41.28On being unable to find the relevant documents stated above I sent another request and received this response (there is a typo by me, it should say received 4 November 2015):

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No notices were issued. So DCMS did not go through the required process. The reply states that the invitation to tender was dated 14 May, which is the case. The tender document states:

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It therefore appears that the DCMS invited 8 firms to tender within 5 days (days are defined as business days and do not count the first day). This is a ludicrously short period of time to complete a tender process.

Whatever happened, a contract was apparently agreed and is dated 24 May 2014. 24 May was a bank holiday weekend Saturday:

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All Government supply contracts must have a clause relating the provisions of the Bribery Act 2010. This  contract does not.

The DCMS have sent me the details of the 8 firms they say they invited. I haven’t contacted them yet, because I suspect it will be a pointless exercise. I’m sure they would all like to tender for government work in the future.

The Regulations also state:

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 17.13.21 The tender document estimates the cost of the work:

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In the event, the contract went to the headhunting firm Saxton Bampfylde, where the BBC Director General’s wife is a partner, for the maximum projected sum. Presumably the 7 other firms quoted in excess of the anticipated range. This is from the contract:

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My position is that I don’t accept that 8 firms were invited to tender, although I may yet be proved wrong. I’m not even sure the “contract” DCMS sent me is genuine or just something they cobbled together to answer my FoI request.