Public Procurement is governed by EU legislation and National rules and guidelines. The aim of these rules is to promote an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which delivers best value for money. In this regard, it is important to point out that the rules underpinning procurement have not changed due to Brexit, as the procurement Directives already provide for a range of options for trading with third countries.
The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) has responsibility for developing and setting out the overarching policy framework for public procurement in Ireland. In this context, the OGP published an Information Note on Brexit and Public Procurement in 2017, which has been updated to take account of developments in the interim in December 2018 and June with the most resent iteration being publish last week [link].
The Information Note sets out the potential risks faced by public bodies that would include disruption to supply, increases in costs, extra administrative burdens, and changes in the regulatory environment. In addition, to identifying risk, the Information Note emphasises the importance of managing any potential risks to supply and the need to put in place the necessary detailed contingency plans. Such contingencies could include, but are not limited to, buying in bulk and holding stock, and sourcing substitutions and alternative suppliers.
Whilst the OGP establishes certain aggregated arrangements on behalf of public bodies, the bulk of public procurement remains outside centralised structures. Therefore, it is the responsibility of each public body to ensure the continued delivery of public services as they are best placed to assess and develop contingency planning in relation to their own contracts, including the specific risks associated with Brexit.
The OGP has written to all Government Departments advising them to identify and manage any potential risks and to put in place the necessary detailed contingency plans.