Public procurement is governed by EU and national rules, the aim of which is to ensure that procurement transactions and decisions are open and transparent, fair, equitable and achieve value for money. These rules govern the way public authorities and certain utility operators purchase goods, works and services.
The rules are set out in four principal EU Directives (Directive 2009/81/EC, Directive 2014/23/EU; Directive 2014/24/EU and Directive 2014/25/EU) which are transposed into national legislation in each Member State. These rules govern the conduct of public procurement procedures for public contracts whose monetary value exceeds a certain threshold. Public contracts applying below those threshold values are, nonetheless, expected to conform with principles of public procurement set out in the Directives, in particular equal treatment, non-discrimination, mutual recognition, proportionality and transparency.
Legal oversight of the procurement rules is set out in a further set of Directives governing review and remedy procedures for interested parties to a public procurement procedure. These Directives - 89/665/EEC, 92/13/EEC, 2007/66/EC – have been transposed into national legislation in each Member State and operate through a range of administrative and judicial bodies.
The uniformity of the procurement regime across the EU, established by the full suite of procurement-related Directives, is further reinforced by important procurement principles emerging from the case law in each Member State and from the Court of Justice of the European Union in the area of public procurement.
To further enhance coordination and coherence of approach across the EU, each Member State, including Ireland, is represented at the several EU Commission expert groups on procurement. These groups are designed to ensure a consistency of governance in public procurement and to guide ongoing developments in the area. Through the Office of Government Procurement (OGP), my Department is committed to ensuring Ireland’s procurement policy is fully aligned with other Member States.