Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (179)

Bernard Durkan


179. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which he expects reform in respect of procurement to take place in the next four years with consequent positive benefit for the public; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2864/21]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Procurement Reform Programme has had considerable success to date. Governance arrangements have been established to foster collaboration and cooperation across the OGP and the main sectors of Health, Local Government, Education and Defence. Through the development of a suite of centralised arrangements, the Government’s purchasing power has been leveraged by speaking to the market with ‘one voice’. Procurement Reform has delivered a programme of policy supports for SMEs, and has built an awareness in industry regarding the opportunities arising from public procurement.

The OGP has been developing proposals on the refinement of the procurement reform programme following consultation with our colleagues across Government and industry. These will enhance public procurement, building on the progress to date, with a more strategic focus and increase emphasis on sustainability, social responsibility, SME access, innovation, digitalisation and professionalisation.

The Government has set out a number of commitments in the Programme for Government in relation to public procurement including evaluating and managing the environmental, economic and social impacts of procurement strategies within the state, developing and implementing a sustainable procurement policy and tasking the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) to update all procurement frameworks in line with green procurement practice.

These commitments enhance work already underway by the OGP to promote wider policy considerations including environmental and social in public procurement. Strategic spending can play a key role in responding to societal, environmental and economic challenges. The range of policies is broad and includes SME access, green public procurement and environmental sustainability, disability access, training for young or disadvantaged people.

Implementation of these policies will ensure strong value-for-money for the taxpayer, minimise the environmental impact and optimise the community benefit of products and services procured, support innovation in supply markets to increase the availability and effectiveness of sustainable solutions and encourage suppliers to adopt practices that minimise their environmental impact and deliver community benefit.