All appointments using funding allocated under my Department's school building programme must be tendered in accordance with EU and National procurement guidelines.
For large school building projects (i.e. those with an estimated cost in excess of €2.5 million), design team services, including architects, are appointed from my Department's Framework for Consultancy Services – Large Schools (2012) via a competitive tendering competition. The tender competitions are generally conducted by my Department on behalf of the school. However, the school authority takes part in the final assessment of the tenders with the guidance and assistance of my Department officials.
Design teams for school building projects with a value of between €1 million and €2.5 million are tendered via the open tender procedure on the Governments e-Tenders web-site. In respect of minor building projects devolved to school authorities, my Department has recently published new and revised guidance documents on the delivery of those projects which include Guidance on Procuring Consultants for Small Works and a Step by Step Guide to using e-Tenders. All of these documents are available on my Department's website. These guidelines provide a balanced approach by allowing access for smaller firms while also ensuring that appropriate consultants are engaged for small works.