Thursday, 25 February 2021
Department of Finance
Public Procurement Contracts
83. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number and value of procurement contracts for Covid-19-related spending in 2020 and 2021 that took place via negotiated procedure without prior publication in his Department. [10771/21]
84. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the breakdown of procurement contracts for Covid-19-related spending in 2020 and 2021 that took place via negotiated procedure without prior publication by his Department, by goods and service type in tabular form. [10772/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 83 and 84 together.
I wish to advise the Deputy that the procurement processes for all contracts in my Department were carried out in accordance with the Office of Government Procurement’s (OGP) Public Procurement Guidelines for Goods and Services which aim to promote an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which delivers the best value for money.
The EU Procurement Directives provide for procurement by way of negotiated procedure without prior competition in respect of contracts valued in excess of the EU threshold of €139,000. I can confirm that no such procurements were undertaken in respect of Covid-19 related spending by my Department during 2020 or to date in 2021.
As set out in the table below, three procurement processes valued over €25,000 (excluding VAT) were undertaken in the period in question, under the terms of Article 32 of the Public Sector Procurement Directive (2004/18/EC), due to the operational impacts of Covid-19. This Article provides for the awarding of contracts without the use of a competitive procedure in certain circumstances, including, for example: where no suitable tenders have been submitted in response to an open or restricted procedure; where competition is absent for technical reasons; and for reasons of extreme urgency brought about by unforeseeable events.
Details of all contracts / purchases of more than €25,000 (exclusive of VAT) undertaken without a competitive process, and the reasons for doing so, are notified to the Comptroller and Auditor General when preparing the Annual Appropriation Accounts and published in that context.
Contracts over €25,000 approved without a Competitive Tender process
|Year||Contract Awarded to||Purpose of Contract||Value of Contract||Goods / Services|
|2020||AwS||Provision of IT Cloud Services to facilitate increased demand for Gov.ie services that have arisen in the context of Covid-19||€100,000||Services|
|2020||Eir (Security Services)||Provision of IT Security Services to enhance malware detection and prevention systems in response to a National Cyber Security Centre alert on heightened threat levels arising from Covid-19||€123,000||Services|
|2020||McCann Fitzgerald Solicitors||Provision of legal advices on advisory notes and legal agreements for use with standard form Capital Works Management Framework contracts in response to Covid-19 measures||€29,520||Services|
The data analysed for calculating the average time for publishing contract award notices greater than €25,000 by Irish contracting authorities comes solely from the national eTenders platform. While the tendering process is facilitated through this platform, the complete data on public contracts is held by the contracting authority concerned. The accuracy of data is dependent on that entered by public sector buyers.
It is normal to have a significant period of time between the publication of a tender notice on eTenders and a contract award notice due to the steps required to complete a procurement process. In addition to the average, the median (middle value) is also provided as it is a better measure of the typical duration for the publication of award notices than the average as a low number of complex procurement contracts skew the average time.
The table below provides the average and median days between the tender notice publication and the tender award publication for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021.
|Year||Volume of Awards >€25,000||Average Days||Median Days|
Public Procurement is governed by EU and National rules. The aim of these rules is to promote an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which delivers best value for money. It is a basic principle of public procurement that competitive tendering should be used except in justifiably exceptional circumstances. The EU Directives acknowledge that there can be legitimate reasons for awarding contracts without the use of a competitive process, such as extreme urgency brought about by unforeseeable events or where there is a single supplier to perform the contract. Consequently, a procurement without a competitive process can be compliant with procurement rules.
Department of Finance Circular 40/2002 places the obligation on Government Departments and Offices to report all contracts above €25,000 (exclusive of VAT) awarded without a competitive process to the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) by 31 March of the following year. The C&AG publishes this information in the Appropriation Accounts. These reports are copied to the Office of Government Procurement.
The justification for using non-competitive procurement is a matter for each contracting authority. Individual Accounting Officers in their 40/2002 returns certify that the appropriate national and EU procedures were followed and that contract prices were fair and reasonable and represented best value for money. Circular 40/2002 further states that contracts awarded without a competitive process should be subject to an internal review, preferably by the Internal Audit Unit or alternatively by an appropriate senior officer who is not part of the procurement process.
The Comptroller and Auditor General is responsible for auditing and reporting on the accounts of Government Departments including procurement. The OGP does not have a regulatory function but supports public bodies by providing procurement solutions, advice, guidance and systems for public bodies, promoting good practice and proactive engagement with our sourcing partners in the Health, Education, Defence and Local Government Sectors through the Procurement Executive.
The number and value of contracts above €25,000 awarded without a competitive process for 2019 as reported by Government Departments, in accordance with Circular 40/2002, are set out in the following table. As previously stated, a procurement without a competitive process can be compliant with procurement rules.
|Total No. of Contracts 2019||Total Value of Contracts 2019|
My Department does not currently hold details for 2020 or 2021.