Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has said that action must be taken after an audit report into procurement issues in the Northern Health Trust highlighted serious lack of accountability and management in building maintenance.
Mr. McMullan stated,
“I am shocked by the level of failure in the awarding, overseeing and in the accountability of building maintenance contracts across the Northern Trust area. There are serious questions to be answered by those in charge at the Northern Trust.
“The Audit Report highlights a catalogue of failure included the awarding of contracts without tender, missing documentation, contractors given work outside their remit, lack of follow up on work carried out and paying for works that had run over budget due to extra work being added without authorisation.
“There are concerns that these practices would have remained in place only for the intervention of whistle blowers. It is a concern that £5.7m of much needed money can be frittered away. This at a time of ever diminishing resources and tighter budgets in the Health sector.
“The Minister needs to take action as it is obvious the current management oversight mechanisms are not fit for purpose. It is not good practice to have Boards investigating their own workings.
“I therefore welcome the announcement of an independent review but this must be carried out within a limited time frame so that any wrongdoing can be identified. If any findings identify failings those responsible should be held to account.”