Wednesday, 9 November 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
348. Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his internal auditors are satisfied with the procurement process used in the purchase of a consultancy service (details supplied); if the process used conforms with the Department of Finance guidelines. [33416/05]
349. Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if value for money has been achieved by his Department in its purchase of a consultancy service (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33425/05]
350. Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if any of his officials have attended as VIP guests at a conference organised by a company (details supplied); the locations, dates and costs involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33434/05]
351. Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his knowledge of a consultancy service (details supplied); the number of officials of his Department who are members of this particular programme; the basis on which the decision was taken to subscribe at this level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33443/05]
352. Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of competing companies that were considered in his Department’s assessment before a company (details supplied) was granted a programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33452/05]
My Department has a basic entry level contract with the company in question for vendor independent research material on the IT industry worldwide. The contract is for one senior official to have access to all the research material in question with regular reports on areas of special interest and also to request deeper analysis, as required. There are a number of briefings offered each year as part of this basic service. While there is a vast quantity of free information or material supplied by vendors available in the public domain, it is considered appropriate that a more substantive source is also availed of, especially when considering claims of rival vendors. The value of the contract with the Department in 2005 is €14,250. This is considered to represent good value for money and a more cost effective way of obtaining independent and reliable information than commissioning periodic studies and reviews. Above all, access to this service helps my Department to ensure that IT procurement decisions are soundly based and that good value for money is achieved.
At the time of the award of the initial contract in 1998 the Department availed of a central Civil Service wide agreement with the firm in question for analysis services which had been facilitated by the Centre for Management, Organisation and Development or CMOD. Since then our contract has varied slightly over time and at each renewal other companies’ products are examined. The situation will be reviewed again when the current contract expires next year, in accordance with Department of Finance guidelines on the procurement of goods and services. Given the wide range of goods and services procured by my Department every year, it is not possible for the internal audit unit to review every individual procurement. It would be a departure from normal audit practice were the unit to do so. Our internal audit has had no particular reason to examine the procurement referred to by the Deputy and has no evidence to suggest that the Department of Finance guidelines were not adhered to.
In so far as the additional services and executive programme referred to by the Deputy are concerned, the position is that my Department is not a member of that programme and no staff member from my Department has attended the event mentioned.
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