11:00AM, Friday 09 March 2018
A Slough based domestic abuse charity which has served the community for more than 40 years says it is disappointed to have lost the contract to provide services for Slough Borough Council (SBC).
A three-year-contract for a new domestic abuse service has been awarded by the council to London based charity Hestia and the charity is due to start working on behalf of SBC on April 1, providing support for domestic abuse victims in Slough.
It will also carry out development work across East Berkshire, funded by the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, to ensure residents from ethnic minority and refugee communities can access specialist domestic abuse services.
Hestia was awarded the contract after a competitive tender process, in line with EU procurement regulations and will take over from the Dash (Domestic Abuse Stops Here) charity, which had been contracted by SBC for the past two years to the tune of £200,000 annually.
The tendering process evaluated and scored a list of providers, after which Hestia was chosen.
SBC cabinet member for regulation and consumer protection Cllr Pavitar Mann (Lab, Britwell and Northborough) said: “The team has a wealth of experience in delivering domestic abuse services across London.
“They also have a proven track record in meeting the needs of diverse communities and we are keen to tap into this to ensure that all victims of domestic abuse, from whatever cultural background, can access these vital services.”
But Jayne Donnelly, chief executive of Dash, which is based at Slough Trading Estate, said the charity was ‘disappointed’ with the move, describing the new providers, which supports children and adults in a wide range of circumstances, as ‘generic’.
She also expressed doubts about the scoring system used for the tendering process and said it was also generic.
She said: “It doesn’t take into account that a large London-based provider will have a team of bid writers. It’s not an equal process at all.”
She said the charity has served people in Slough for more than 40 years and has been embedded in the community long before its council contract.
It is not yet clear if the charity will be able to continue any services for Slough residents or stay located in the town but it will continue working for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
A SBC spokeswoman said: “This was a thorough process with a decision-making panel made up of council officers and the police and crime commissioner’s officers.
“Hestia has more than 40 years experience in providing these services and bring a wealth of knowledge and additional services to Slough.”
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