Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (181)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

181. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the details of contracts of €25,000 or more that have been awarded by his Department or bodies under his aegis that were found to be non-compliant with procurement guidelines in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45069/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

As the Deputy may be aware, my Department has confirmed as part of its Appropriation Accounts for 2017 and 2018 that it has ensured, among other things, that there is an appropriate focus on good practice in purchasing and that procedures are in place to ensure compliance with all relevant guidelines. The Comptroller and Auditor General has carried out reviews of a broad sample of procurements valued over €25,000 in the context of the audits of the Department’s Appropriation Accounts in respect of those years and no substantive issues arise.

In respect of 2017 and 2018, the Department noted in its Appropriation Accounts that it was unable to follow standard public procurement policy with two procurements due to unique circumstances, for which the procurement policy allows. It was required in 2017 to modify an IT system at short notice to safeguard EU funding and, in both 2017 and 2018, it had to use a data centre’s own supplier within its secure environment.

The Deputy may also wish to note that my Department updated its Internal Procurement Policy in January 2018 to reflect the OGP procurement guidelines published in July 2017. The revised procurement policy, among other things, provides for the carrying out of randomly chosen internal reviews by my Department’s Procurement Officer to ensure that the policy is being complied with. In this context, all procurements processes have been found to be compliant with my Department’s procurement policy for 2019.

With regard to the bodies under the aegis of my Department, I am advised that the Office of Public Works will respond directly to the Deputy.

The position on this question in respect of the other bodies under the aegis of my Department is set out in the following table.

Public Appointments Service

2017

Oracle annual software maintenance

For this contract, no competitive tender process was possible as this is the sole provider of support and maintenance on proprietary database.

2018

Oracle annual software maintenance

For this contract, no competitive tender process was possible as this is the sole provider of support and maintenance on proprietary database.

Emerald Facility Services

Existing contract extended as tender put on hold pending decision on long term status of premises by OPW.

Grant Thornton – Consultancy Services

A second extension of €22,250 on this contract was found to be outside the terms of the contract and therefore non-compliant, the total expenditure on the contract for the year was €219,550.

2019

Oracle annual software maintenance

For this contract, no competitive tender process was possible as this is the sole provider of support and maintenance on proprietary database.

Emerald Facility Services

Existing contract extended as tender put on hold pending decision on long term status of premises by OPW

National Shared Service Office

2018

Professional Training and Consulting

RFQ process followed as value was expected to be less than €25,000. However, new recruitment necessitated an additional rollout of the training at short notice, in what was a specialised subject matter. Given the increased value of the contract, an RFT process should have applied.

Ernst & Young - 'Quality Assurance & Risk'

Contract procured according to procurement guidelines, however, the estimated contract value was exceeded. The NSSO continued the engagement due to the critical nature of the work being done, which was at an advanced stage. Returning to the market would have presented an economic disadvantage due to duplication of costs and resulted in a significant loss in value for money.

State Laboratory

2017

Gas Suppliers

Supply of laboratory gases following expiry of the contract in March 2017. There was a delay in establishing a Framework Agreement for this requirement.

2018

Gas Suppliers

Supply of laboratory gases following expiry of the contract in March 2017. There was a delay in establishing a Framework Agreement for this requirement.