Office of the Auditor-General declines tender process review

The Office of the Auditor-General has declined a request from the Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) to review the WDHB’s tender process for construction work at acute mental health unit, Te Awhina.
WDHB chief executive Julie Patterson received a letter last week informing her the office had considered the request but because the issues in dispute are specific points of legal argument and not systemic matters, and because the matters are before the courts, it would be inappropriate to conduct a review.
When Mrs Patterson wrote to the Office of the Auditor-General, she forwarded the legal claim from Treadwell Gordon on behalf of their client and the legal opinion prepared by Buddle Findlay for the board.
The conflict between the two parties began in early February when the unsuccessful company   announced it was taking legal action against the WDHB because it considered the tender process for work the Te Awhina contract flawed and it believed there may have been a conflict of interest among those involved in the selection process.
The tender was advertised on the Government’s electronic tender services website asking suitable builders to submit a registration of interest (ROI), six ROIs were received, four were chosen to submit tenders for the project and three of the four building companies did so.
Mrs Patterson says a panel including the WDHB strategic and corporate general manager,
a quantity surveyor and an architect panel reviewed the tenders and in some cases asked the builders for more information.
The decision was then made by a board appointed sub-committee which consisted of the board chair Kate Joblin, the board’s risk and audit chair Michael Sewell and Mrs Patterson.