Thursday, 7 February 2019
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Public Spending Code
13. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to enhance the oversight of major construction contracts in order to prevent costs escalating and to safeguard taxpayer funds in view of cost overruns to date in respect of major public construction contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5802/19]
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform requires those charged with the delivery of public works projects to comply with the Public Spending Code and the Capital Works Management Framework (CWMF).
The Public Spending Code sets out the high level principles which apply in relation to project governance and, in particular, the procedures that must be followed by bodies with delegated sanction for capital expenditure. All projects are required to complete the review stages set out in the Code before sanction is given to go to tender. This process is undertaken between the sponsoring agency and the sanctioning authority.
A review of the Public Spending Code is currently underway in my Department. As elements of the review are completed, the associated updated guidance will be published. Work is ongoing on updating the requirements in relation to the different stages involved in the process of selection, appraisal, approval, and delivery of capital investment projects. This will be completed in Q1 2019.
The Capital Works Management Framework (CWMF) represents the tools that a public body must use to procure and manage the external resources necessary to deliver a public works project that is to be delivered under the Exchequer-funded element of the National Development Plan. The CWMF is maintained by the Office of Government Procurement in consultation with the Government Contracts Committee for Construction.
The performance of a key component of the CWMF; the public works contract, was reviewed in 2014 and a series of recommendations that apply to the conditions of contract have been implemented since 2016. The OGP is shortly to commence on a more comprehensive review of the manner in which public works projects are procured in order to develop the next generation of the CWMF.
The review will incorporate consultation with industry and the public bodies charged with the delivery of public works projects on a broad range of issues such as risk management, information quality standards, managing price inflation and the adoption of digital technologies in project delivery.