Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform | Expanding and improving the public procurement process
To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure; National Development Plan Delivery and Reform the extent to which he continues to take action to expand and improve the public procurement process in a way that is appropriate to the ongoing needs of the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The focus of the Procurement Reform Programme is to further develop the potential of strategic procurement, with an emphasis on sustainability and social considerations, public works reform and innovation.
A review of the Capital Works Management Framework (CWMF) commenced in March 2019 to improve the delivery of construction projects in terms of quality, timely delivery and cost outcomes. This review is part of a suite of measures, including the revised Public Spending Code, the Commercial Skills Academy, review of productivity in the construction sector, and the actions arising from the Supporting Excellence Action Team report, which taken together will improve works outputs.
The OGP is liaising with the Government Construction Contracts Committee and the Irish Green Building Council in developing standard metrics that can be applied to the evaluation of projects’ cost of use in service and full life cycle assessment, including the carbon impact of individual projects.
The Cost Control Templates published under the CWMF are also being reviewed, to incorporate the International Construction Measurement Standard (ICMS). Revised templates will be published in 2023. ICMS is a global standard for benchmarking and reporting of construction project cost and covers both capital and whole life costing while providing a way of presenting costs in a consistent format.
The inter-departmental Strategic Procurement Advisory Group, chaired by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP), promotes the use of procurement to address wider social and environmental challenges. For example, the OGP is currently drafting an information note to give guidance to public bodies on how apprenticeships can be incorporated into public procurement contracts.
My colleague, Minister of State Ossian Smyth TD, chairs the SME Advisory Group which meets quarterly to provide a forum for SMEs to discuss procurement issues. A review of the measures and strategies already in place to support SME access to public procurement opportunities is nearing completion. Increased levels of SME engagement in public procurement will help grow the economy and provide competition within the market.
My Department will continue the enhancement and refinement of public procurement processes to address the needs of the State whilst adhering to the EU and National public procurement rules applying.
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