Police rapped for poor purchasing

30 November 2009

1 December 2009 | Jake Kanter

A police body in Australia has been criticised for showing “disregard” for procurement rules and accepting gifts from suppliers.

An ombudsman’s report into IT purchasing by the Victoria Police found several examples of failure to adopt proper procurement and contract management procedures.

In one instance, the report said, buyers prepared paperwork for a contract worth AUS$20.1 million (£11 million) in 24 days, instead of the recommended 10 to 18 months.

In this case the authority was permitted by the Victorian Government Purchasing Board (VGPB) not to tender the deal competitively on the basis it would receive a discount of more than 90 per cent. However, the ombudsman said Victoria Police’s business and technology department failed to properly scrutinise the details of the deal. 

A separate example saw the organisation redirect a security services contract from IBM to Fujitsu. The deal was valued at more than $11 million (£6 million), but was awarded to Fujitsu for $27.2 million (£15 million), a budget overspend of $15 million (£8.3 million).

The report also identified instances where IT buyers accepted hospitality from suppliers.

The ombudsman recommended that Victoria Police comply with the VGPB’s procurement policies and ensure all changes to contracts above a set value are subject to board approval. It also suggested Victoria Police establish a facility to oversee major procurement projects.

Simon Overland chief commissioner of Victoria Police, accepted the recommendations. In a statement he said: “We need to do a lot better in complying with processes around procurement and contract management.”

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