Belfast Telegraph

Security recruitment probed at site

The recruitment of security services at a former Belfast hospital is to be investigated for shortcomings, the Health Minister has said.

Edwin Poots said there was a potential problem with the procurement process at the Belvoir Park Hospital site.

There are plans to turn it into a residential development after cancer services were moved to the City Hospital five years ago.

Mr Poots told the Assembly: "There may be potentially material shortcomings in the procurement of a contract for security services at the Belvoir Park Hospital site."

The permanent secretary of the department has discussed the matter with the chief executive of the Belfast Trust and asked for an explanation of the circumstances surrounding the procurement and any associated shortcomings.

He is also seeking assurances that there are no other arrangements in place where appropriate processes have not been followed. The senior civil servant has also written to other arm's-length bodies funded by the department to seek similar assurances.

The minister added: "Any failure to comply with the requirements of appropriate practice for procurement and/or contract management is a serious breach of control.

"I need to be sure that all who carry responsibility for managing public money are complying in full with relevant guidance on competitive procurement ... in services such as security, and that they maintain regular scrutiny of routine procedures so that any departures from the required practice are identified and corrected quickly."

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