The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is responsible for issuing Irish passports and all connected matters.
At both EU and national levels, public procurement is governed by a comprehensive regulatory and policy framework. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade adheres to the principle of competitive tendering in respect of its contracting for services, supplies and works. The applicable law and guidance is set out in the Public Sector Procurement Regulations published in 2016 under S.I. 284 of 2016, which implemented the European Directive (2014/18/EC) as well as the Circulars and Guidelines issued by Government. Implementation of these policies and principles ensures the Department gets best value for money and ensures that in general, a competitive process is carried out in an open, objective and transparent manner. The Department is also required to use central Government frameworks when available.
The contract for the provision of Irish passport booklets and other travel documents for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was awarded to DLRS Group, following a competitive tendering process conducted in 2012-2013.
Given the contract value and specialist service requirement, a restricted two stage process was openly published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). The initial requirement sought a response to a pre-qualification questionnaire from the open market regarding financial and technical capacity and applying a set selection criteria. Following evaluation, eleven Tenderers qualified under the pre-qualification questionnaire selection criteria and were invited to submit a full tender proposal to meet the requirement. These tenders were assessed against the weighted award criteria issued to invitees in advance of evaluation. The contract was awarded to the highest scoring Tenderer under the most economically advantageous tender method having regard to the contract award criteria set out in the Tender Notice.
The contract with DLRS Group was signed on 16 January 2014 (“Agreement relating to the supply of goods pursuant to request for tenders for the provision of Irish Passport Booklets”).
The contract is for an initial five year period, with an option to extend the contract on an annual basis for a maximum of two further years.
To allow for introduction of the Passport Card in October 2015 - and in keeping with the provision in the original contract foreseeing provision of other travel documents, including cards, in addition to passport books - a contract change request was agreed and signed with DLRS on 16 January 2015 for production of the Passport Card (“Irish Passport Card, Change Proposal December 2014”).
The term of the contract is for the duration of the Passport Booklet contract. The cost of the contract for the production of the passport card is in the region of €1.5 million annually.