The Government recognises the importance of the SME sector and continues to enhance the already substantial measures to support SMEs in accessing the public procurement market. Significant work has been undertaken by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) to ensure that public procurement is accessible by all businesses, including SMEs. Minister of State O’Donovan, in accordance with the Programme for Government, chairs quarterly meetings of the SME Advisory Group so that the voice of industry is heard at first hand by Government. The group comprises officials from OGP, DBEI, Enterprise Ireland, InterTrade Ireland, the CCPC, and representatives from Ibec, ISME, the Small Firms Association, the Construction Federation of Ireland and Chambers Ireland.
In June 2018, following consideration by the group of a proposal to raise the threshold for advertising on eTenders, it was decided that the current advertising threshold of €25,000 (excluding VAT) for goods and services be maintained. The proposal had been discussed at meetings of the group and members were invited to submit their views to the OGP with the majority opposed to increasing the advertising threshold at that time. The OGP also took account of analysis of data on eTenders into their findings and considered the fundamental procurement principles of openness and transparency.
This advertising threshold will be kept under review and OGP is continuing to monitor this issue in consultation with the SME Advisory Group. It is worth noting that the Public Service Spend and Tendering Analysis for 2017 report published by the OGP last week, indicates that of the €4.9 billion procurement addressable expenditure analysed, the majority of this spend is with the SME sector. This report is available on OGP's website, www.ogp.gov.ie.