Written answers

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Public Procurement Contracts

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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222. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which public procurement can be improved in line with reforms and the achievement of value for money while speeding up public procurement issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2586/23]

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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223. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which he continues to recognise the challenges faced through public procurement, with particular reference to the necessity to eliminate delays while maintaining best practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2587/23]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 222 and 223 together.

Public procurement is governed by EU legislation and national regulations with the aim of promoting an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime that delivers the best value for money. All Irish public bodies are obliged to spend or invest public funds with care, and to obtain optimal value for money in accordance with the Public Spending Code.

In line with the Programme for Government: Our Shared Future, the focus now is to develop further the potential of strategic procurement, with an emphasis on sustainability and social considerations, public works reform and innovation. While value for money remains a key consideration, the strategic use of public procurement will support green, social and innovation policies strategic objectives in line with the Programme for Government, international developments and EU priorities such as the Green Deal and digitalisation.

As part of this broader approach to ensuring value for money, the introduction of centralised procurement in earlier phases of reform continues to be embedded in the delivery of services to clients and customers. My Department continues to actively explore new areas and mechanisms to further embed reforms and efficiencies that will enhance the cost-effectiveness of public services; for example, through greater use of opportunities presented through digitalisation, intelligent automation, innovation and the implementation of new ways of working and service design.

To support best practice and the timely delivery of public procurement procedures, a number of initiatives are being implemented. The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) recently launched a new website in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency that allows contracting authorities to search for Green Public Procurement (GPP) Criteria for their competitions. The online search tool allows users to rapidly find, select and download GPP criteria relevant to a specific procurement project.

The OGP is responsible for the implementation of updated digital procurement notices, known as e-forms, which are central to the digital transformation of public procurement nationally and across the EU. Introduced by Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1780, implementing the new e-forms will support best practice, improve the accuracy of information included on procurement notices, increase transparency in public procurement and make it easier for suppliers to find and identify relevant notices. All of which will contribute to the timely delivery of procurement procedures.

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