Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Department for Regional Development - (More) Records Missing in Action

A request was made for copies of correspondence between the Department for Regional Development (DRD) and other Government departments relating to the Rathlin ferry procurement contract; it was submitted in October 2008 as mentioned in the White letter.

A request was made to the Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) at a later date and CPD sent some emails that were exchanged between CPD and DRD. These emails were not included in the earlier reply from DRD. In response to a query, DRD replied that it was too late to treat it as a complaint. However, only Mystic Meg would have been able to complain about emails that ordinary mortals didn't know existed.

Were these contentious emails submitted to those who carried out the investigations into the ferry contract and other matters? The investigations cost £55, 000 yet it appears that they can't be quality assured. It's already been established through a series of House of Lords questions that the MV Canna operated for a period of time without a valid passenger certificate yet the investigators were unable to acquire such information. The investigations were completed in December 2008 yet they have not yet been scrutinised by the Department for Regional Development or the Public Accounts Committee.

Brian White acknowledges that the investigators were critical of DRD record keeping. Presumably they would not be impressed by the failure to provide a TRIM reference number for this correspondence and by its tone.

Added 25 August 2010

Today's CPD FOI response clearly indicates that the Rathlin ferry procurement investigators saw and examined the CPD/DRD correspondence. Why did they not refer to it in their December 2008 report? When will the Committee for Regional Development and/or the Public Accounts Committee scrutinise the report.