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Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform | Records of Government Departments delivery of public contracts and procurement and accelerating and improving procurement

To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure; National Development Plan Delivery and Reform the Government Departments that currently have the least attractive record in relation to delivery of public contracts and procurement; the provisions inmind, if necessary, to address any issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  – Bernard J. Durkan.

– Bernard J. Durkan T.D.

For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 2 March, 2023.

To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure; National Development Plan Delivery and Reform the extent to which he and/or his Department are continuing to monitor all Government Departments and their agents with a view to accelerating and improving procurement, while at the same time maintaining the highest necessary standards; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  – Bernard J. Durkan.

– Bernard J. Durkan T.D.

For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 2 March, 2023.


My Department is responsible for the allocation of public funds across each area of Government spending and seeks to ensure that expenditure is managed by Departments in line with these allocations. The responsibility for the management and delivery of investment projects, within the allocations agreed under the National Development Plan 2021 – 2030 (NDP), rests with the individual sponsoring Department in each case. The drawdown of capital expenditure from the Exchequer is detailed each month and is publicly available in the Fiscal Monitor, which is published on the website. All line Departments and agencies submit information on their expenditure levels against profile to my Department, along with an explanation outlining details regarding any variance of under or over spending against profile.

As you know, my Department has been renamed to give an additional focus on the delivery of the NDP and to assist Departments in delivering on their much needed priority projects. I am looking at all the policy levers and supporting structures at our disposal that could enhance the delivery of critical projects as well as working with colleagues across Government to remove any potential barriers that are impacting on delivery. This work will focus on how projects are approved and appraised by the Government and Government Departments, the public procurement procedures required to comply with EU regulations under my own remit, and identifying capacity and capability gaps across the public sector and working to bridge these gaps.

Under EU law, public contracts above a certain value must be advertised EU-wide and awarded to the most competitive tender in an open and objective process to promote an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which delivers best value for money. All Irish public bodies are obliged to spend public funds with care, and to ensure that optimal value for money is obtained in accordance with the Public Spending Code which sets out the rules and procedures to ensure that these standards are upheld across the Irish public service.

Each Accounting Officer is responsible for the monitoring of performance of public contracts under his or her remit and for ensuring that the public procurement function is discharged in line with standard accounting and procurement rules and procedures efficiently and effectively to deliver maximum value for money for the taxpayer.  Contracting authorities are responsible for establishing arrangements for ensuring the proper conduct of their affairs, including conformance to standards of good governance and accountability with regard to procurement.  

For procurements above the EU thresholds, minimum time-limits are set down for the different stages of the chosen contract award procedure in the 2016 Regulations. The time limits in the 2016 Regulations are minimum time limits. Contracting authorities should take into account the complexity of the tender and the volume or complexity of information that the tenderers are required to submit when setting any time limits.  The timelines for the different procurement procedures can be found in Appendix V of the Procurement Guidelines.

The Office of Government Procurement (OGP), an office within my Department, has responsibility for the National Public Procurement Policy Framework which sets the overarching policy framework for public procurement in Ireland. This framework enables a more consistent approach to public procurement across the public sector.  The OGP has published the Public Procurement Guidelines for Goods and Services on its website to provide a comprehensive interpretation of the public procurement regulations. The guidelines are designed to improve consistency and promote best practice in the application of the public procurement rules to deliver best value for money.  There is a section specifically dedicated to managing contracts contained within the guidelines which outlines the importance of active management by contracting authorities of contracts to maximise value for money.

Policy, guidance and implementation measures relating to capital projects is published on the Construction Procurement Reform website where the Capital Works Management Framework provides a suite of best practice guidance, standard contracts and generic template documents are available to download for all contracting authorities to provide a consistent approach to the management of public works projects.

Finally, to assist contracting authorities in their procurement of common goods and services and to get value for money promptly, efficiently and without delay, contracting authorities are encouraged to check the Office of Government Procurement website for existing or planned procurement arrangements which may meet their needs.

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