The CQC’s ‘intelligent monitoring’ has come under further criticism after it was found to have handed a contract to consultancy firm McKinsey & Co without proper tendering.
The CQC has been subject to a Department of Health audit after an internal whistleblower claimed the regulator had given preferential treatment to the management consultancy firm in awarding the £1.2 million contract for developing its ‘risk based intelligence’ approach to prioritising inspections.
As a result of allegations made by ‘senior staff’ in 2014, the DH commissioned an audit to look into the allegations.
It concluded that ‘pre-tender mistakes allowed McKinsey exclusive access’ to the risk based intelligence contract, although the procurement process was ‘otherwise conducted properly’.
But another contract awarded to McKinsey was found to give the firm ‘preferential treatment in the evaluation stage’.
The report, published today, added: ‘In relation to both procurements – CQC did not keep a full audit trail of documentation concerning the procurement exercises.’
The audit did not substantiate allegations of ‘bullying or harassment in relation to the procurements’ or ‘that CQC entered into a ‘verbal contract’ with McKinsey prior to the tender exercises’.
It also dismissed an allegation that CQC chief executive David Behan ordered the executive team to delete an email relating to McKinsey.
In light of the audit, the DH has ordered the CQC to review all procurement processes and roll out staff training. Mr Behan said that the ‘CQC accepts the findings of the review and I regret that there were procedural errors in the way these procurements were handled’.