Cheeverstown House breached procurement guidelines – review

Deloitte report also highlights instances of underpayments to housekeeping and other staff

Cheeverstown House was  not compliant with Department of Health salary scales in some cases.

Cheeverstown House was not compliant with Department of Health salary scales in some cases.

 

Cheeverstown House, which serves 400 intellectually disabled children and adults, breached public procurement rules because it did not publicly advertise contracts, a review has found.

Under its service agreement with the Health Service Executive, Cheeverstown committed to it abiding by the procurement rules.

The organisation was also not compliant with Department of Health salary scales in some cases and a number of staff were found to have been underpaid. It subsequently reviewed these cases and paid the staff what they were owed.

Deloitte noted Cheeverstown had declared its compliance with public procurement guidelines in its 2015 compliance statement.

Of 15 contracts selected for testing, the consultants “were unable to obtain evidence that any tendering process had taken place”, the report said.

“The value of our samples ranged from €29,850 to €376,189 and covered services such as cleaning consumables, security services, taxi services, catering and building services.”

Among the potential impacts were that value for money was not being achieved, Deloitte said.

In its response, Cheeverstown’s management said it had formally advised the board of the recommendations and had identified contracts with a value of €20,000 or greater. It had also confirmed the dates when contracts were last tendered.

The organisation subsequently updated its purchasing policy, developed a three-year procurement plan and said it had engaged staff in formal training.

Internal audit

Deloitte also identified that Cheeverstown did not have an internal audit function or an internal audit plan in place. Management told the consultants it planned to discuss this issue with the HSE, which had stated that funding for the audit function had not been available to date.

The consultants also identified non-compliance issues with approved Department of Health salary scales.

In one case, a staff member was in receipt of a €3,731 per annum “dual responsibility” allowance which had been removed from pay scales and was no longer payable to any employee.

There were three instances where an employee was being underpaid their location allowance by €184 per annum.

Deloitte also identified 13 instances where housekeeping staff were being underpaid by €3,914 a year.

“We also noted two instances where service users, and one instance where an employee with special needs, were paid minimum wage for work completed within Cheeverstown House [eg kitchen help/ bingo night]; however, management were unable to provide supporting evidence confirming the number of hours worked,” the report said.