Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Department of Education and Skills
64. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the decision of the education procurement service, which is his Department's sector sourcing hub, to issue a tender (details supplied) for the national supply of library books and audiovisual material, which arguably discriminated against small companies here in the tender requirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1297/17]
The decision to issue the tender for the supply of library books and audiovisual material was taken by the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) and local authorities. The role of the Education Procurement Service (EPS) is to conduct the procurement exercise on behalf of these bodies. The specification of goods and services, evaluation and award of winning tenders are decided by the LGMA with support from the Education Procurement Service.
The EPS ensures adherence with national procurement policy and regulation including advice on initiatives to assist SMEs in public procurement issued by the Office of Government Procurement. Pre-tender meetings were held between the buyers and suppliers in this case. The subdivision of the tender into lots, a relatively low turnover requirement, acceptance of consortium bids and a balance of quality over cost in award criteria were all designed to facilitate SME involvement. Four of the six lots were won by Irish SME Companies.
The EPS facilitates SME participation in tender competitions in line with government policy on this issue and will continue to encourage and facilitate the inclusion of SMEs in future procurement exercises.