Written Answers. - Printing Contracts.

Richard Bruton

Question:

164 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the value of printing work procured on behalf of the Government and Government agencies; and the aggregate value procured from Irish print companies and from non-Irish companies. [19139/03]

The total value of printing work procured in the year 2002 by Departments, offices and agencies under contracts placed by the Government supplies agency was €12,587,500. Of this, €11,368,000 was procured from Irish companies and €1,490,000 from non-Irish companies.

Richard Bruton

Question:

165 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the tendership procedures for Government printing contracts; the number of companies invited to tender for contracts of different value; the selection criteria used; if the costs used in comparisons give non-Irish companies an advantage through their lower VAT rates; and the extent to which a list of preferred providers is in place. [19140/03]

It is the practice of the Government Supplies Agency, GSA, in the procurement of printing services, to publicly advertise all contracts with an estimated value in excess of €65,000, except in cases where urgency renders public advertisement impractical. Where the estimated value exceeds €162,293, a notice inviting tenders is published in the Official Journal of the European Union as required by the EU public procurement directives. Any interested supplier may submit tenders in response to these advertisements and notices. Contracts are awarded on the basis of the most economically advantageous tender, determined on the basis of criteria detailed in the tender documents.

For contracts with an estimated value of less than €65,000, invitations to tender are issued directly to at least five firms from the GSA's list of suppliers. Here again, contracts are awarded on the basis of the most economically advantageous tender, determined on the basis of criteria detailed in the tender documents. Applications for inclusion on the GSA's list of suppliers can be made at any time. Selection of suppliers to be invited to tender for any particular contract is made on a random basis from among suppliers on the list, though in certain cases, ability to meet specific requirements of the contract may be taken into account.

Once-off orders with a value of less than €6,500 may be placed with a suitable contractor selected from the list of suppliers without a competitive process. This procedure is used where the effort and resources involved in a competitive tender process would not be commensurate with the value of the order. Such orders are distributed on an equitable basis among available suppliers. There is no advantage to non-Irish companies in assessing tender prices – comparisons are made on the basis of prices excluding VAT. The total number of orders placed in 2002 with firms on the list of suppliers without a public advertisement was 487, with a total value of €3,821,000. This represents 29.7% of the total value of printing work procured in the year.