Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
Seniors Alert Scheme
835. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government why the number of lots that any given company could apply for in the Telecare tender, either individually or as part of a consortium, was not limited to two or three lots; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46456/15]
836. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government whether the Telecare system is best served by one of the winners of the tendering process subcontracting its functions out to one of the losers in the process; and if, in view of this, the tendering process was sufficiently robust to choose the most qualified applicants for the contracts. [46457/15]
837. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government why companies that won contracts for Telecare were not asked to submit any proof of Garda Síochána clearance before the contracts were awarded to them. [46458/15]
838. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 565 of 8 December 2015 why a list of those academic and technical qualifications held by those members relevant to adjudicating tenders for the Telecare contract were not furnished in response to that parliamentary question, nor any reason for their not being furnished provided. [46459/15]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 835 to 838, inclusive, together.
My Department is responsible for the Seniors Alert Scheme which encourages community support for vulnerable older people in our communities by providing grant assistance towards the purchase and installation of personal monitored alarms to enable older persons, of limited means, to continue to live securely in their homes with confidence, independence and peace of mind.
The scheme is administered by local community and voluntary groups with the support of Pobal, who took over this role from my Department in September 2015 given that organisation’s significant experience delivering programmes on behalf of Government. This approach was taken in order to reduce the administrative burden for the many hundreds of community and voluntary groups registered under the scheme, who provide an excellent service for the elderly.
The assessment of the tenders for this scheme, including the award of contracts, was managed separately by Pobal, an independent company, following a public advertisement on eTenders on 20 October 2014.
The range of expertise and experience represented by those on the tender evaluation panel included the following - tendering and procurement, project management, business development, business management, assessment and appraisal, programme design and evaluation, economics, accountancy, financial management and analysis, as well as policy and research experience. Academic qualifications of those involved in the assessment were up to Master’s degree level and included strategic management and innovation, social science, business studies and management.
The tender was broken down into 10 regional lots to ensure that SMEs were not disadvantaged due to excessively large lot sizes. A panel of regional suppliers was contracted to provide the equipment within specified regional areas while maintaining the benefits of local service provision. In accordance with the Invitation to Tender, the maximum number of lots an interested party in their own right could apply for was three lots.
In addition, it was possible for companies who tendered for three lots independently to tender for up to three other lots under a consortium arrangement. Each regional lot contains a panel of ranked suppliers. The first supplier is the supplier of choice for all local organisations in that lot unless they are unable to meet demand whereby the next ranked supplier will then be chosen to supply the equipment.
The suppliers of telecare equipment under the Seniors Alert Scheme are required to communicate any changes to sub contracted parties to the tender to Pobal and this has been outlined in contracts provided to them by Pobal. I understand that, to date, no changes to sub-contracted parties initially outlined have been communicated to Pobal by suppliers ranked highest in each lot. Supplier performance is also subject to annual review as outlined in the documentation provided that formed part of the Invitation to Tender.
In accordance with the Invitation to Tender, tenderers were required to provide evidence to Pobal of their status as Garda vetted, or, alternatively, commitment that such evidence would be provided if admitted to the framework agreement and before the commencement of any services.
I am satisfied that the tender process was entirely robust.