Tuesday, 4 July 2006

Ceisteanna (410, 411, 412, 413, 414)

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

421 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the information technology purchasing requirements, for both hardware and software, in his Department for the second half of 2006; the requirements for which tender requests have been issued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26039/06]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Family)

My Department is highly dependent on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) systems, some of which have been in place for over 20 years, to deliver its schemes and in particular, its payment services. For example, each week my Department is responsible for some 970,000 payments that, when dependants are included, directly benefit some 1.5 million customers. Each year almost 60 million transactions are processed and issued by my Department.

In order to preserve business continuity and modernise its services, my Department has developed a strategic programme of continuous development for its systems.

During the 2nd half of 2006, my Department intends to purchase a range of hardware and software:

Hardware: Servers, PCs, laptops, computer memory, printers, storage, network switches and routers, voice systems hardware,

Software: PC software, server software, voice system software.

Application software: It is likely that my Department will go to the market for assistance in application development but there are no concrete plans at this stage.

My Department is currently seeking tenders for the supply of network switches and routers and also intends issuing tender requests in the 2nd half of 2006 for Voice systems (Call Centre) hardware and software. My Department is also evaluating tenders for Accounts and HR related software.

Many of the purchases will be made on foot of contracts already awarded following a competitive tendering process. All others will be made in strict accordance with national regulations and guidelines and in accordance with EU directives.

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

422 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs his Department’s information technology purchasing policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26054/06]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

423 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the percentage of information technology spend in his Department that went to Irish SMEs in each year from 2002 to date in 2006; the percentage for European Union and European Economic Area SMEs; if systems are in place in his Department’s procurement procedures to give preference to SMEs, such as the weighting system in place in the Local Government Computer Services Board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26069/06]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

425 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the steps he is taking to support the development of the indigenous software industry through his Department’s public procurement process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26099/06]

Amharc ar fhreagra

I propose to take Questions Nos. 422, 423 and 425 together.

Procurement in my Department, including Information and Communications Technology (ICT) procurement, is carried out in strict accordance with national regulations and guidelines and in accordance with EU directives. These do not allow for discrimination in favour of indigenous suppliers. My Department does not maintain data on the organisational status of its suppliers and is unable to provide the information requested in relation to SMEs.

My Department's Requests for Tender (RFT) are advertised on the national procurement website (www.etenders.gov.ie) and, where appropriate (i.e. meeting the criteria set out in Directives), via the Official Journal of the European Union. It is open to any firm that meets the specified requirements to submit tenders and these are evaluated as specified in the relevant Request For Tender. My Department offers feedback on all bids.

Officials in my Department regularly correspond and meet with potential suppliers in the ICT industry to understand what offerings are available and to provide an indication of likely future directions and requirements. Suppliers are informed at these meetings that any specific procurement will be in accordance with the guidelines and regulations, that all requirements relating to a procurement will be published in the RFT and that evaluation will be carried out in accordance with the criteria published in that document.

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

424 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the average size of information technology procurement contracts in his Department; the median size of such contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26084/06]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Contracts awarded by my Department with a significant Information and Communications Technology (ICT) content vary considerably depending on the scope of what is required (e.g. numbers of locations or users or complexity of solution). The detailed information requested is currently being compiled and a letter enclosing the information will issue to the Deputy in the near future.

Question No. 425 answered with QuestionNo. 422.