New tender for the supply of police vehicles
The national police force is launching a new tender for the supply of police vehicles. The new tender process is expected to take more than a year. This was stated in letter sent to the Lower House today by Minister Opstelten (Security and Justice). A decision has to be taken before 1 October on whether the current agreement is to be extended or not. While the House was previously informed that a decision in this regard was linked to the results of the OM investigation concerning integrity violations relating to the current tender, this dependence will not be maintained any longer. The importance of the integrity of the procurement function of the police is paramount in this respect. A tender tainted by the appearance of an integrity violation is no longer sustainable. The OM investigation concerning the current tender is currently still ongoing. The OM has stated that several police officials are involved in the investigation at present. Personnel measures have been or will be taken where necessary.
From the point of view of operational necessity, consultations will be conducted with the current suppliers to ensure the delivery, management and maintenance of police vehicles for the duration of the new tender process. Indications have been revealed over the past few weeks regarding possible integrity violations concerning other police tenders. The OM has received reports relating to other tender procedures. The OM is currently studying these reports in order to assess whether criminal offences may have been committed.
The police force has been working on improvements to the procurement function for some time now. The action plan under the title ‘Improvement programme for police procurement’ was established in May 2013, for example. The key elements of that programme are for the procurement function of the police to be organised in accordance with the national procurement system and for the recommendations of the Schouten/Telgen Commission (2011) to be followed. The improvement programme is being managed by a steering group, in which police management, the National Chief Procurement Officer, the procurement director of the revenue department and the Ministry of Security and Justice are represented, among others. In order to ensure that the police have taken the right steps up to now and are also moving in the right direction with this improvement programme, an audit will be conducted on the improvement programme at the end of this year by the National Audit Department.
All known signs of possible integrity violations, on the part of both employees and suppliers, are being treated seriously by police management. Reports of possible integrity violations in relation to procurements and tenders can be submitted to the Department of Security, Integrity and Complaints (SIC). The SIC Department is independent and reports to and advises police management directly. In addition, police management has already set up a hotline for employees: the National Hotline for Abuses, directly under the control of the Chief of Police. Subsequently, or in addition, employees can contact the Government Integrity Investigation Board, which is also available to police employees.
In order to make the reporting of alleged integrity issues occurring in the past or present as accessible as possible for suppliers, a temporary, independent complaints committee, “Police Procurement and Tenders” is to be established as an additional measure. Suppliers of the police who do not feel free to contact the SIC Department or are not satisfied with how their report is dealt with can make contact with this independent complaints committee.