CQC welcomes the fact that there has been an independent review by the Department of Health about the way two procurements were handled in February 2013. Whilst we accept the findings of the review and regret that there were procedural errors in the way these procurements in February 2013 were handled, we are pleased that the further allegations were not substantiated. We have made substantial improvements to the way we carry out procurements, and now have clear professional leadership of our procurement function through the appointment of a Head of Commercial and Contracts.
This builds on a number of steps that have already been taken to improve our procurement processes. For example, CQC has introduced stronger governance of procurement through its Investment Committee and is ensuring that senior and middle managers are better trained in relation to procurement.
At the time of the procurements that are the subject of the Internal Audit report, CQC was under a great deal of pressure to introduce radical changes to the way we inspected health and adult social care services and how we were organised and managed. The drive for these important changes was to ensure that CQC was ready to respond quickly to Sir Robert Francis QC's report from his Mid Staffordshire Public Inquiry and also to enable the Government to make an early commitment to create chief inspector roles within the CQC. The CQC regrets that in the haste to make changes, some procurement procedures were not correctly followed.
CQC Chief Executive David Behan said: "I welcome the independent review. I regret that procedural errors were made in these important procurement exercises carried out as we sought to make quick and fundamental changes to the way we operated as a regulator. I am determined to ensure that all our processes are robust. We will use this report to strengthen them further and to continue to improve."