15 October 2009 | Jake Kanter
Directors at Ireland's coaching and employment authority FÁS are to be trained to stamp out "ignorance" of procurement rules and processes.
The government authority told SM
that employees from middle management upwards are attending in-house purchasing training sessions to remind them of good practice and ensure "there is no ignorance of procedures".
The coaching forms part of new director general Paul O'Toole's efforts to ensure staff "abide by rules" - national and European. FÁS was criticised in the media last year after it was revealed that its corporate affairs staff were awarding deals before contracting arrangements were complete.
In one example, the division awarded a contract for more than ¤53,000 (£48,994), despite the tendering process being incomplete.
The Irish comptroller and auditor general, John Buckley, said the corporate division had "undermined" procurement processes and failed to secure value for money.
Last week, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment published the Labour Services (Amendment) Bill 2009, legally requiring FÁS directors and staff to disclose any material interest in
a tender. It will ban employees from taking part in contract negotiations if they have a confl icting interest in a deal. Punishment for breaking the new rules will include demotion.
Mary Coughlan, minister for enterprise, trade and employment, said she hoped the refreshed bill will create greater accountability at FÁS.