As stated in Circular 10/14: Initiatives to assist SMEs in Public Procurement, Public Sector Bodies are required to advertise all contracts for supplies and services with an estimated value of €25,000 (exclusive of VAT) and upwards on eTenders, the Governments National Tendering platform.
In May 2017, a proposal was put to the SME Advisory Group to raise the current threshold of €25,000 (exclusive of VAT) for advertising on the eTenders website. The SME Working (Advisory) Group, chaired by my colleague, Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan TD, meets on a quarterly basis in accordance with the Programme for Government, so that the voice of Irish SMEs can be heard by Government and the Office of Government Procurement (OGP). The membership of the group consists of officials from the OGP, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI), Enterprise Ireland (EI), InterTrade Ireland (ITI), the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), as well as representatives from the Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation (IBEC), the Small Firms Association (SFA), the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) and Chambers Ireland.
The proposal was discussed at meetings of the SME Advisory Group in September and December of 2017 and members were invited to submit their views to the OGP. It was clear from the discussion and the formal views expressed that the majority of members were against increasing the advertising threshold at that time. The OGP also took account of analysis of data on eTenders into their findings and decided in June 2018 that taking openness and transparency into consideration that the current advertising threshold of €25,000 (exclusive of VAT) should be maintained. The OGP will continue to monitor this issue and consult with the SME Advisory Group in the future.