Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Questions (219)

Brendan Smith


219. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the fact that one of the conditions for inclusion on the subcontractor panel for water metering work is a minimum annual turnover of €400,000; his views on whether this threshold is too high and will deny small scale operators the opportunity to apply for work; if he will ensure that this threshold is substantially reduced which would ensure a better distribution of contracts both to smaller scale operators and on a geographic basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10726/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Government has decided that Irish Water, a new State-owned water company to be established as an independent subsidiary within the Bord Gáis Éireann Group, will be responsible for the domestic water metering programme and for the collection of water charges from households.

The procurement process for the sub-contractor panel has been developed by my Department, in consultation with Bord Gáis Éireann, to ensure that SMEs have an opportunity to compete for contracts. The tender criteria have been developed to ensure that sub-contractors have the capacity to carry out the scale of work involved to the necessary high standard. The approach being taken for the sub-contractor panel is consistent with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform guidelines on facilitating SME participation in public procurement (that Department’s Circular 10/10 refers). SMEs can submit their application for inclusion on the panel at any stage up to 30 June 2013.

It is expected that the successful regional management contractors will be utilising the resources of the pre-qualified sub-contractors for the purpose of delivering the meter installation works. As the procurement process is currently underway it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.