Thursday, 2 May 2013

Questions (102)

Patrick Nulty


102. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the changes he is intending to make to the public procurement process; if he is engaging with employers’ and workers’ representatives regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20900/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Reform of public procurement is one of the major projects of key strategic importance in the Government’s Public Service Reform Plan, which was published in November 2011. Procurement of supplies and services accounts for around €9 billion of current spending by the State per annum. This represents a very significant portion of overall spending and it is, therefore, essential that the Public Service achieves maximum value for money and operational efficiency in its approach to public procurement.

Progress has been made on several of the actions for procurement reform contained in the Public Service Reform Plan. The Government agreed on 12 June, 2012 to implement mandatory arrangements in respect of the centralised purchasing frameworks organised by the National Procurement Service (NPS).

Following that, an external review of the central procurement function was commissioned by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The report of the review, which was published in September, found that significant savings can be achieved through the implementation of a transformational change to the central procurement model.

In December 2012, arising out of recommendations in the report of the review of the central procurement function the Minister announced the appointment of a Chief Procurement Officer to lead a key element of the Government’s Public Service Reform agenda. The new approach to public procurement will involve:

- integrating procurement policy, strategy and sourcing in one office;

- strengthening spend analytics and data management;

- much greater aggregation of purchasing across public bodies to achieve better value for money;

- examining the specifications set out for goods and services;

- evaluating demand levels to assess how demand and volume can be reduced; and

- strengthening supplier and category management.

Since the appointment of Paul Quinn, CPO, on 28 January 2013, he has initiated and completed a series of engagements (workshops and one-to-one meetings) with key stakeholders within the public sector and their representatives in relation to the development of the proposed governance structures, implementation plan, transition arrangements and savings targets for the procurement function. The following sectors were engaged in workshops / meetings: Health, Education, Local Government, Defence, Justice, and other Central Government Departments.

Further consultation will be undertaken with employees and workers’ representatives as the new Office for Government Procurement is established. We are committed to ensuring that SMEs are fully engaged in the process and will be encouraged, where necessary, to form alliances and networks to ensure they can tender on a competitive basis for this work.