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Auditor general slams province over tendering process for air ambulance

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STARS contract information was not made available to the public as required by legislation, auditor general Carol Bellringer said.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

STARS contract information was not made available to the public as required by legislation, auditor general Carol Bellringer said. Photo Store

The Selinger government did not comply with public tendering principles and policies when it signed a 10-year deal with the Alberta-based STARS air ambulance service, the province’s auditor general says in her annual report.

As well, STARS contract information was not made available to the public as required by legislation, AG Carol Bellringer said.

The Health Department estimates total STARS costs over the 10 years at $159 million.

Bellringer said the government "performed inadequate procedures" to assess if it would obtain value for money from the STARS contract.

"(The) Health (Department) did not conduct a detailed  needs assessment to determine all requirements. Instead, it relied on STARS as the main source to define program delivery needs," she said.

Bellringer said the Health Department lacks a quality-assurance process for the patient care that STARS provides. "Such a process may have detected some quality of patient care concerns earlier," she said.

The report also looked at how the province’s Department of Justice manages approximately 10,000 adult offenders.

The audit found that the although it had increased capacity by 52 per cent since 2008, overcrowding in centres was on-going; offender population forecasts were not always reliable; there was no comprehensive long-term capital plan to address either the forecast bed shortfall or the deterioration in aging correctional centre infrastructure; and initiatives to help reduce bed demand required greater attention.

The audit also found there that offenders were not always adequately supervised while in the community and that their rehabilitation plans needed improvement.

Meanwhile, the auditor said the province does not release its quarterly financial reports promptly.

And it says more policies are needed regarding the reporting of payments to members of the legislature.

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