Dáil debates

Thursday, 20 January 2011

4:00 am

Photo of John MoloneyJohn Moloney (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)

Deputy Shatter was having a great chat with his colleague on the opposite benches so he could have at least listened to my reply before interrupting. No matter what I say, he is going to be critical of it either way.

These firms will be managed by a single law firm which will act as the service manager for the contract. In addition to acting as the service manager, this law firm will also be responsible for providing the HSE with all of its corporate legal advice.

The general requirement to reduce legal costs has been the subject of discussions between the HSE and the Department of Health and Children, in the context of achieving value for money. Specific targets on cost reductions were included in the HSE's 2010 service plan. The Minister for Health and Children was informed by the Secretary General in October 2010 that the procurement process was under way and that it was hoped the new arrangements would come into operation from 1 January 2011.

The head of the legal division in the Department was also aware that the tendering process was taking place, from discussions with her opposite number in the HSE. Following a detailed and comprehensive evaluation process, the firm of Arthur Cox was selected as the preferred bidder to act as the service management firm for the new contracting model. The head of the legal division in the Department was informed that Arthur Cox had been chosen and its name was going before the board at a meeting to take place in December. Contractual negotiations are ongoing with this firm with a view to a contract commencing on 1 March 2011. To manage any risk associated with conflict of interest, a firm from outside of this jurisdiction was engaged to assist the HSE in preparing contract documents. The firm engaged to assist in this regard is McGrigors LLP, whose head office is in Edinburgh, Scotland. Senior counsel has also been retained on an as-required basis to advise the HSE.


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