The interim procurement reform board was appointed by the then Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in May 2017 to provide oversight of the delivery of the procurement reform programme, advise the Government on national public procurement strategy and advise on the objectives and business plans of the Office of Government Procurement. The board meets quarterly and presents an annual report to me, as Minister of State with special responsibility for public procurement. The most recent report, for 2020, was published in August and is available on the OGP’s web page on gov.ie.
The board comprises 11 members, two of whom are independent members recruited from outside the public sector, eight are senior public servants drawn from a wide range of Departments and the chairperson is the former Secretary General of the Department of Defence, now retired. The terms of reference of the board include that it will provide oversight to the implementation of the public procurement reform programme, which has had considerable success to date. Governance arrangements have been established to foster collaboration and co-operation across the OGP and the main sectors of health, local government, education and defence. Representatives of health, local government and education are included in the board’s membership.
Through the development of a suite of centralised arrangements, the Government’s purchasing power has been leveraged by speaking to the market with one voice. Procurement reform has delivered a programme of policy supports for SMEs and built an awareness in industry regarding the opportunities arising from public procurement. The board promotes active engagement with these arrangements across the public service.
The OGP, in consultation with the board, has been developing proposals on the refinement of public procurement following engagement with our colleagues across Government and industry. These will enhance public procurement, building on the progress to date, with a more strategic focus and increased emphasis on sustainability, social responsibility, SME access, innovation, digitisation and professionalisation.