Sinn Féin TD for Laois-Offaly and Chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Brian Stanley, has branded the HSE’s procurement oversight ‘disappointing and unacceptable’ after the HSE was unable to outline how much of its procurement was non-compliant with government regulations.
Teachta Stanley said:
“It is completely unacceptable that the HSE is not in a position to provide the PAC with information about how much taxpayers’ money it spends on non-compliant procurement.
“The HSE, prior to Covid, was provided with a budget of €17.4 billion for 2020. How can an organisation with a budget the size of the HSE not have an efficient and transparent system for procurement?
“This is very disappointing from an oversight and accountability perspective.
“The HSE has replied that it is not in a position to provide the information requested because it doesn’t have a single procurement system and therefore lacks full visibility of all procurement related activity.
“However, we know from data provided by the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) that non-compliant procurement is a major issue in the HSE.
“From sample cases studied by the C&AG in the HSE’s Annual Financial Statements, between 2015 and 2018, up to 49% of the HSE procurement was non-compliant with regulations. “What is even more alarming is that the HSE doesn’t intend on having a solution to this issue until 2024 and even then, it will only cover 80% of HSE procurement. “It is vital that all public bodies have good systems, practices and procedures in place.“Unfortunately, there is a clear problem here with the governance of the HSE’s procurement and it must be dealt with as a priority. “I will be calling for the HSE to come in to discuss this matter.”