‘No external competition’ for golf contract, Antrim and Newtownabbey Council told

A contract for a golf professional employed by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council should have been put out to tender again, councillors have been told.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 5:18 pm

Speaking at a meeting of the council’s Audit Committee on Monday evening, Jason McCallion, from the Northern Ireland Audit Office, said that the initial contract had been “renewed on a rolling basis without further external competition”.

The committee heard that the contract had been last reviewed in 2019.

“There was no external competition and may not represent value for money”, said Mr McCallion.

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He reported that council management had contacted the PGA (Professional Golf Association) in 2020 to ensure the fee was “in line with or lower than a retainer of a PGA”.

He indicated that the contract will be reviewed at the end of term in 2022.

Alliance Councillor Billy Webb noted a comment in a paper presented to the Audit Committee which said “following a discussion with an elected member”.

When pressed for further details, Mr McCallion said: “I do not know if I can discuss that information.”

The Local Government Auditor has now issued the final report following completion of the audit of the Statement of Accounts by the Northern Ireland Audit Office.

The committee was told that there were “no significant issues”.

A spokesperson for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council said: “This service was properly tendered for at the start of the contract and is monitored in line with the council’s normal contract management arrangements.

“The council is satisfied that the current contract in place represents a good service and value for money.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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