Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Questions (27)

Jonathan O'Brien


26 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will consider revising the 2004 national procurement guidelines. [32380/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

The development of policy in relation to public procurement has to be seen in the context of a set of rules agreed by European Member States which have the aim of creating a single market of publically procured works, goods and services. The Irish guidance document "Public Procurement Guidelines — Competitive Process" was published in 2004 following the adoption of the current rules that govern public procurement across the European Union. The guidelines were drafted in consultation with the Government Contracts Committee and other participants in the public procurement market.

Public procurement is the acquisition, whether under formal contract or not, of works, supplies and services by public bodies. Public procurement policy is aimed at ensuring that all public sector purchasing is carried out in a manner that is legal, transparent, and secures optimal value for money for the taxpayer. The Guidelines set out the steps to be followed in conducting an appropriate competitive process under EU and national rules.

Further guidance is available in relation to issues including; facilitating SME participation in public procurement; the disclosure of information following a competitive process; environmental considerations in procurement and other aspects of the EU procurement Directives, such as framework contracts and eProcurement.

In relation to current plans to revise the guidelines, I would point out that late last year, the European Commission published proposals to revise the current public procurement rules. These proposals are currently being examined at working group level. After these rules are adopted, which seems likely next year, my Department will revise the public procurement guidelines accordingly. EU Directive 2004/18/EC covers the procurement procedures of public sector bodies. Directive 2004/17/EC covers the procurement procedures of entities operating in the utilities sector.