Procurement Management – Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF)
Public procurement accounts for a significant amount of public expenditure. This demands that appropriate and effective mechanisms are in place, to reduce the risk of loss and waste arising from deficient procurement planning and practices that undermine systems intended to secure equitable and transparent distribution of funds. In support of the Handbook of Public Procurement Procedures, the Public Procurement (Amendment) Act 2018, aims to regulate the procurement of goods, works and services by public entities and provides for criminal charges against persons found in breach. The Procurement Regulations, passed by Parliament, gave effect to the provisions of the Act. Further, it is essential that the Country obtains value for money from the limited funds available to acquire goods and services to support Jamaica’s Vision 2030 objective of a safe and just society.
I commissioned an audit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), which is among the five largest spenders of budgetary resources, to assess its conformance with procurement rules and guidelines governing procurement management and execution. The report highlights positive results achieved by JCF arising from internal controls for fuel usage, as well as an initiative undertaken in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance in relation to fuel, both contributing to cost savings. However, JCF did not extend the same principle of control to other large procurement activities such as uniforms and detainees’ meals. There were instances in which the management of procurement activities for selected high-value expenditure areas did not conform with good procurement practices and were in breach of the procurement guidelines. In a number of cases, the justifications cited for the use of the direct and emergency contracting methodologies were not in keeping with the allowable circumstances outlined in the procurement guidelines and by extension, prevented JCF from securing maximum value from the monies spent. Proper planning would enable the use of competitive bidding, which secures transparency in the awarding of contracts. JCF should also capitalise on its advantage as a bulk purchaser.