This report follows-up our previous report on procurement at Betsi Cadwaldr University Health Board published in 2013, we concluded that the Health Board had breached its own SFIs in respect of three consultancy contracts totalling around £97,000. This follow-up report asks ‘Are the requests to waiver SFI procedures being followed and have our previous audit recommendations been implemented?’
Based on the results of this audit testing, our overall conclusions are that the Health Board breached internal controls in awarding several contracts. It breached European Union procurement rules in three cases and it is at risk in a fourth case. We consider that the circumvention of procurement procedures undermines professional standards, good governance and creates reputational risk. In addition, we identified inadequacies in the Audit Committee Recommendations Tracking Tool.
In particular, we found that:
- The procedure for waiving SFIs is not always applied appropriately.
- Health Board staff breached both SFIs and the Board’s formal Scheme of Delegation in authoring waivers of SFIs
- Health Board staff should have considered tenders through OJEU procurement procedures in some instances; three cases breached the OJEU threshold and a fourth is at risk of doing.
- While Health Board staff explained perhaps understandable reasons for the breaches identified in most cases, there are opportunities to strengthen governance and improve the transparency of decision making.
- Inadequacies in the Recommendations Tracking Tool tracker tool meant that assurances on the implementation of our previous procurement recommendations were inaccurate, but the Health Board is at an advanced stage of revising its tracker process.