Finnish Immigration Service Faces Major Violations in Recent Audit
According to a recent report from the Finnish National Audit Office (VTV), certain long-term services procured by the state have been purchased in violation of procurement law. The report is based on an inspection of 14 purchases across six different locations where the same service providers have been offering services for an extended period. The VTV found that four of these purchases included direct procurements that should have been put up for competitive bidding.
Procurement Irregularities in Finnish Immigration Service
Three cases of significant economic impact were identified within the Finnish Immigration Service. The VTV report highlights that the Immigration Service has been conducting a vital UMA information system procurement with substantial direct procurement since the 2006 competition. According to the VTV, this procurement process should have been re-competitive more than a decade ago when the scope of the service was significantly expanded.
In addition to the UMA system procurement, the VTV report also points out two procurements for operations of reception centers that included direct procurements contrary to legislation. Furthermore, one direct procurement that violated procurement law was found in the KEHA Center, a development and administration center for ELY centers and TE offices.
Response and Improvements by Finnish Immigration Service
In response to the findings, the Finnish Immigration Service states that it is refining its procurement processes based on the latest recommendations from the VTV. The department has reportedly sought external consultation to support procurement activities and has strengthened its internal audit and procurement documentation over the past year. The report also revealed that the direct procurement contracts for reception operations, which were mentioned in the VTV report, have since been terminated.
Risks and Implications of Non-Competitive Procurements
According to the VTV, a lack of competition poses a risk in long-term service procurements. Many of the audited procurements were found to be non-competitive, with either no bids or only one or two bids received. In some cases, multiple direct procurements were made as continuations of the competitive period.
While changes in contracts can lead to procurement no longer being in accordance with procurement law, long-term contractual relationships can also have benefits. However, the risk is that the state’s position as a buyer weakens, potentially leading to inflated service costs. The VTV’s audit found that this has rarely occurred in the cases they reviewed.
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