CEOs urged to get involved

29 March 2010

30 March 2010 | Helen Gilbert

Chief executives have been urged to take more interest in procurement matters in the wake of the Northern Ireland Water (NI Water) scandal, which saw four board members ousted.

NI Water chairman Chris Mellor and three other non-executive directors – John Ballard, Ruth Thompson and Declan Gormley – were sacked for failures in procurement governance around award contracts last month.

Breaches included failing to put contracts out to competitive tender, instances of failing to attain appropriate internal approval and deals extended outside the permitted contract terms.

An investigation by the Department for Regional Development is currently ongoing.

Lee Parkinson, director of Parkinson Procurement Solutions, told SM: “It is an abject failure of the governance arrangements of the organisation for such errors to take place.

“One would expect some procurement decisions to be on the corporate radar of the executive board,” he said.

Peter Smith, managing director of Procurement Excellence, said it was “absolutely important” CEOs pay more attention to procurement to ensure “value for money, propriety and avoidance of corruption”.

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