For Written Answer on : 11/09/2023
Question Number(s): 1645 Question Reference(s): 37898/23
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Health the policy of his Department to ensure that Irish based businesses and SMEs in particular, are not prevented from tendering for Government and State business; the measures that he has put in place to ensure that Irish businesses are supported in tendering for Government or State business; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Public Procurement is governed by EU and National rules. The aim of these rules is to promote an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which ultimately delivers the best value for money. My Department is fully committed to ensuring that it meets its obligations under the National Public Procurement Policy Framework including all national and EU procurement laws, guidelines and Government circulars. This includes measures to support and encourage participation by Irish based businesses and SMEs in the tendering process contained in the Department of Public Expenditure NDP Delivery and Reform’s circular 05/2023 (Initiatives to assist SMEs in Public Procurement).
This sets out positive measures that contracting authorities should take to promote the involvement of smaller enterprises and highlights practices that are to be avoided which may hinder small businesses in competing for public contracts.
To ensure that my Department remains compliant with all obligations under procurement circular 05/2023 , its requirements have been incorporated into the Department’s Procurement Policy and officials who undertake procurement processes are required to:
- Where possible, utilise Office of Government Procurement (OGP) framework agreements.
- If no framework agreement is applicable, open procedures should be utilised and the use of restricted tendering should be limited to exceptional circumstances.
- When planning large procurement exercises consideration must be given to breaking the requirements into lots. This can be divided by type of good /service, geographic or value.
- Insurance and turnover requirements must be relevant and proportionate to the circumstances of the contract and the associated risk assessment.
- All procurements for supplies and services in excess of €50,000 must be advertised on eTenders platform.
- Increased use of the Request for Quote process following the rise in the threshold for RFQ’s from €25,000 (ex VAT) to €50,000 (ex VAT).
- Provision should be made for self-certification by Tenderers for selection criteria, with only the identified preferred Tenderer being required to furnish the requisite supporting and evidentiary documentation at the end of the evaluation process.
- All users are encouraged to register for the eTenders portal where they can access all of the tools provided by the OGP.
My Department recognises the importance of Irish based businesses and SMEs and supports the delivery of policy measures already developed by the OGP aimed at assisting these sectors.