Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (959)

Carol Nolan


959. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the details of contracts of €25,000 or more that have been awarded by his Department or bodies under the aegis of his Department that were found to be non-compliant with procurement guidelines from 1 January 2019 to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37791/20]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department ensures that there is an appropriate focus on good practice in procurement and that procedures are in place to ensure compliance with relevant guidelines and legislation.

EU and national rules promote an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which delivers value for money. EU Directives declare that there can be legitimate reasons for awarding contracts non-competitively, such as extreme urgency brought about by unforeseeable events or if there is a single supplier to perform the contract. Therefore, a non-competitive procurement is not necessarily non-compliant with procurement rules.

Circular 40/02 issued by the Department of Finance requires my Department to report all contracts above €25,000 (exclusive of VAT) awarded without a competitive process to the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) by 31 March of the following year.

In 2019, 98 contracts with a value of €14,283,712 were awarded without a competitive process and declared on the Circular 40/02 return as expenditure against those contracts exceeded the reporting threshold of €25,000.

Of this, contracts valued at €10,489,674 were undertaken without a competitive process but are considered compliant, as the justification for awarding these contracts without a competitive process falls within the exceptions to open/competitive procurement permitted in national and EU legislation.

The remaining procurement with a value of €3,794,038 was also undertaken without a competitive process but is not considered compliant as the contracts were not subject to an independent review prior to the award of the contract.

The 2019 information is not readily available in the format requested. Officials in my Department will collate the information and forward it directly to the Deputy.

Information on any instances of non-compliant procurement that arise in 2020 will be available in my Department's 2020 Appropriation Account which will be published by the Comptroller and Auditor General in 2021.

Procurement is an operational matter for bodies that come under the aegis of my Department.