The Department of Health has defended its decision to award a £17m contract for the outsourcing of IT to an English company.
A spokeswoman for the department said a number of Northern Ireland companies had tendered for the lucrative contract.
But she said the department was complying with the Public Contracts Regulations of 2006 in giving the tender to Advanced Computer Software Group.
The Surrey-based group is to provide a finance, procurement and logistics IT package for use across Northern Ireland. The Department of Health spokeswoman said the 2006 regulations reflected an EU directive on public sector procurement which outlawed favouring companies from the home territory.
"The key principles of the regulations are competitiveness, fairness, transparency and the non-discrimination of tenderers from other member states."