A HSE internal audit report has found that a UL Hospitals Group manager’s contract, which was expected to be €45,000, ended up with a cost of €275,000 as the status of the role was widened and was extended in duration.
The HSE report examined the hiring of sole trader Liam Casey FM Consulting in 2012 to provide “turnaround and management support” to the group.
The original contract was for €44,800 for three months’ work in the group, the audit said.
It revealed that the senior role was paid €700 plus VAT a day. The audit stated that the gross total of €274,413 was paid to Starline Management Consulting Ltd, from January 2013 to May 2014.
The report stated that the sole trader “altered arrangements to act through Starline Management Consulting Limited, set up as a limited company on 31 January 2013”.
He took up the role as interim director of facilities for the University of Limerick Hospitals Group in January 2013, according to the report.
The internal audit by the HSE said that the role was widened in the first quarter of 2014 to cover all non-clinical management in the group. This was authorised by the group’s chief executive, the report stated.
The audit also stated that additionally, Liam Casey FM Consulting was paid €3,444 for a report on facilities management services at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, in late 2012.
A group spokesperson said that is acknowledges the findings of the internal audit, and that it has taken action to address the recommendations made.
“Starline Management Consulting Ltd was engaged through the central procurement process. UL Hospitals drew up a detailed service level agreement with the consultancy for the provision of facilities management services for UL Hospitals in December 2012. The service level agreement contained clear terms and conditions for the provision of facilities management services which UL Hospitals confirmed was legally binding.”
The spokesperson added that the contract was extended to cover a vacancy, which arose for the “critical position” of chief operations officer (COO) within the group. The spokesperson said that the group advertised the post a “number of times over 12 months” without success, and a new COO was appointed in October 2014. The contract with the independent management consultant for COO ceased on November 30, 2014.