Financial Secretary (FS) Jeremiah Frett has said the language of government consultancy contracts given to Claude Skelton Cline should have been clearer in terms of the deliverables government wanted.
Frett gave this indication when he appeared before the Commission of Inquiry
The FS, who served as Skelton Cline’s immediate supervisor on recent consultancies, suggested that the contracts that were given to Skelton Cline did not allow for sufficient or effective monitoring.
“If you look at the construct of the contract … it states that you must have three deliverables and the three deliverables [must] equal to $5 million. I believe, in my view, that the requirements of supervision and monitoring that is in the contract; it should have been clearer and be more specific in many instances,” Frett told the COI
He continued: “From my knowledge of the first contract into the second contract, there may not have been [a] person to say ‘daily monitor Mr Cline’. [That is:] whether or not he went to meetings, is there notes from the meeting, who did you call. [Things should have been done] just how the lawyers do it — everything they jot down and what they do day-to-day and make that part of their billing system. There is no system like that [for [Mr Cline],” Frett told the COI
He also argued that there was no consistency in the documents Skelton Cline submitted to report on his progress. But, again, Frett, said he believes the root of that problem lies within the contract itself.
“It should have been clearer in the document — in that agreement — how the reporting mechanism should have been,” Frett stated.
He said the government was ultimately relying on the deliverables that were requested in the contract to properly evaluate the work that Skelton Cline produced.
Skelton Cline was engaged by various governments over the years in several projects, some of which were deemed by auditors to have lacked value for money.