This afternoon the Office of the Auditor General uploaded a response to Orion Health’s CEO Ian McCrae’s concerns about the Ministry of Health’s procurement of services to provide a Covid-19 Immunisation Register and a national immunisation system. Read it here –

Ian McCrae, CEO and founder of Orion Health, is available for interviews on the Auditor General’s response and also has the following to say about their non-investigation:

“What is the point of the Office of the Auditor General if they don’t audit?

“After sitting on our complaint for five months, the Office of the Auditor General has declared they won’t investigate the Ministry of Health’s procurement of the National Immunisation Service.  

“Unfortunately and disappointingly, New Zealand just doesn’t have anything close to the procurement rigour that we see in most other developed nations.

“I find it hard to believe that the OAG believes there isn’t anything worth investigating. Especially, when Orion Health isn’t the only company raising serious MoH procurement issues. There is much to be concerned about, for example:

  1. When we were eventually asked to respond in writing to the Ministry’s requirements, Deloitte had already started working on it
  2. We were asked to quote based on a couple of PowerPoint slides for a solution that they thought would cost $40m. That’s just ridiculous!
  3. Orion Health was given a whole year less to deliver, compared to what Deloitte and Salesforce have had and somehow this is ok.
  4. There is grossly false information about Orion Health in the Ministry’s business case. No problem here!  
  5. The OAG ignored the multi-million dollar price difference in what we know we could deliver a solution for versus what Deloitte and Salesforce are charging.

“To assist the OAG we also provided a detailed 19-page statement of facts, much of which the OAG didn’t bother responding to. They met and spoke with MoH officials, but never bothered contacting us to discuss anything. Not even a single phone call or email.  

“The OAG’s letter actually raises new issues. For example, the OAG’s letter confirms that Deloitte was working on their solution when Orion Health was asked to respond in writing to the Ministry’s immunisation requirements. Ask yourself, does this sound like a predetermined outcome?

“The OAG also failed to acknowledge that the MoH asked Orion Health to deliver in Q4 2020. Yet, almost 12 months later it still wasn’t ready when Delta hit. Orion Health would have delivered in Q1 2021. This to me is the biggest sign that what happened wasn’t a proper procurement process.

“The MoH $38m business case completely misrepresented Orion Health’s products and services and was awash with blatant factual inaccuracies. The OAG appears to have no issue with this.

“It’s unbelievable that the OAG has adopted the Ministry’s doublespeak that the National Immunisation Register is ‘out of date’, without speaking with us or including any evidence from us. We pleaded with the Ministry for many years to increase the functionality and usability of the register. 

“What my team and I experienced was not a full procurement process. It’s a Wellington whitewash, that shows New Zealand Ministries do not need to follow their own procurement rules.

“Simply put, there was no fair and sensible procurement process here and I invite readers to read our OAG submission and draw their own conclusions.”

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