Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Questions (165)

Robert Troy

Question:

165. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views on the recommendations in a report (details supplied) with regard to improving SME access to public procurement contracts; if his officials examined the proposal; and the findings of same. [50030/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) – an office within my department – has responsibility for developing and setting out the overarching policy framework for public procurement in Ireland. The OGP has undertaken a number of substantial measures to support SMEs in accessing the public procurement market which include:

- proportionate turnover requirements with turnover generally limited to twice the contract value,

- the division of large public contracts into smaller lots,

- encouraging SMEs to bid as part of a consortium in procurement procedures where they would not have the relevant experience or scale alone, and

- requiring public bodies to advertise contracts for goods and services valued above €25,000 (ex. VAT) and for works valued above €50,000 (ex. VAT) on the national eTenders portal.

In addition, the OGP is constantly striving to improve its processes and service delivery to make it easier for public sector bodies to procure the goods and services that they need and for businesses to partake in public procurement. As part of this process, the OGP developed a manual to guide contracting authorities through the set-up of a Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS) and the administration of the process using eTenders.

A DPS is a completely electronic system which may be established by a contracting authority to purchase commonly used goods, works or services which are generally available on the market.

Irish public sector bodies have alerted the market to a number of procurement opportunities using a DPS process. The Deputy can find a list of these opportunities on eTenders via the Notice Search function.

For its part, the OGP has put in place a DPS to supply electricity to public sector bodies in Ireland. Prior to commencing this DPS, the OGP issued a Request for Information (RFI) to the market through eTenders. The objective of this sounding exercise was to gain a better understanding of the electricity supply landscape in Ireland and find out the extent to which suppliers could engage with the proposed DPS. The RFI also acted as a guidance tool for the market on the process involved in establishing the DPS.

On 15 November 2019, the OGP published on eTenders a Request for Application to Participate (RFATP) in a Dynamic Purchasing System for the Supply of Vans, Police-Specification Vans, and Minibuses to the Irish Public Sector.

The OGP will continue to proactively engage with business to enhance the significant measures and strategies already in place to support SME access to public procurement opportunities.