ETB spends €2m without tenders being issued

By Noel Baker
Senior Reporter and Social Affairs Correspondent

New financial data shows one of the country's largest Education and Training Boards spent almost €2m in 2018 without full tenders being issued.

The report, laid before the Oireachtas last week and signed off by the Board last December, stated that €3.3m of total spend had been identified where a supplier had been paid in excess of €25,000 in 2018 with no tender. 

It said that of this figure, €1.36m had been regularised since 2018 with tenders for areas such as bus hire, IT services and woodwork and metalwork classroom supplies. 

It also said other tenders were planned in areas such as school journals, printing and mock exam paper supply and corrections, with other improvements planned for last year.

In the section titled 'Public Procurement' in the statement on Internal Control, the chairman of the Dublin and Dún Laoghaire ETB (DDLETB), Cllr John Walsh, said: "DDLETB operates a centralised procurement model for certain areas of construction, ICT, services and supplies. Notwithstanding this DDLETB is not currently in a position to be 100% compliant in terms of adhering to procurement thresholds."

He referred to the "particularly acute problem" of cumulative costs where the ETB does not operate a centralised purchasing function and there are in excess of 60 sites engaged in local procurement exercises on a daily basis.

He said the situation had been "further exacerbated" by the growth of the organisation in recent years and the fact that two financial systems are in operation. 

Cllr Walsh said steps had been made to improve the situation but added "full compliance will not be achieved in the short term". 

In the Annual Review of Controls it said: "The Audit and Finance Committee has expressed the view that the multi-system ICT environment which continues to operate in DDLETB presents a significant organisational challenge and potential control weakness."

It said while the training centre operates management information systems formerly used by FAS, the rest of the organisation used a different set of systems. The figures show that almost 22,000 participants availed of DDLETB services at 76 different locations in 2018.

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