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Parliamentary Question re: Breakdown of Government Tenders & SMEs

DÁIL QUESTIONS addressed to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin)
by Deputy Anthony Lawlor,Anthony Lawlor
for WRITTEN ANSWER on 06/05/2015

* To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide, in tabular form, a breakdown of the total number of Government tenders for the years 2011 to 2014 and in 2015 to date; and the number of contracts in each year that were awarded to Irish small and medium sized enterprises.

– Anthony Lawlor T.D.

For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 6 May, 2015.

* To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform with regard to public procurement, the requirements regarding the publication of awards; and the reason only 18% of awards were published in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Anthony Lawlor T.D.

For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 6 May, 2015.
REPLY.
It is the responsibility of individual contracting authorities to publish award notices following the signing of a contract. This process is facilitated through the national eProcurement portal www.etenders.gov.ie.  This portal is the Irish Government’s public platform for advertising public sector procurement tenders. All tender notices entered into eTenders are advertised on this national system but notices greater than a certain threshold value must also be advertised in the Official Journal of the EU (OJEU).  Under EU Directives on public procurement, public works, utilities, supplies and service contracts above certain thresholds must be advertised (tender notice) and details of the contracts awarded also published (contract award notices) in the OJEU.

The OJEU is an electronic publication where all public procurement tenders above the EU Thresholds, from across all member states must be published. Non-OJEU refers to the tender notices that are below the OJEU public procurement thresholds. The eTenders system facilitates the entry and publication of tender notices and contract award details for both national and EU procurement opportunities.  eTenders is set up and approved to automatically send notices of tender notices above threshold estimated values to be published in the OJEU.  This allows Contracting Authorities to meet national and EU guidelines for publishing notices and awards in a single system. The current EU thresholds are:
Works
Contract Notice €5,186,000  Threshold applies to Government Departments and Offices, Local and Regional Authorities and public bodies
Supplies and Services
Contract Notice €134,000  Threshold applies to Government Departments and Offices
Contract Notice €207,000 Threshold applies to Local and Regional Authorities and public bodies outside the Utilities sector
Utilities
Works Contracts / Prior Indicative Notice €5,186,000 For entities in Utilities sector covered by GPA
Supplies and Services €414,000 For entities in Utilities sector covered by GPA

 

While the EU Directives require publication of tender and contract award notices for above threshold activity, below threshold notices are governed only by national rules. Following the introduction of Circular 10/14: ‘Initiatives to assist SMEs in Public Procurement’, the entry of contract award details for all contracts above €25k became mandatory since August 2014, however prior to this date it was not mandatory.

The OGP recently published a report titled “Public Service Spend and Tendering Analysis for 2013”. It reported that eTenders contained details of 627 contracts awarded by Public Sector Bodies in 2013 for tender notices published in 2013. This is approximately 18% of the 3,518 tender notices published during 2013. However, a contract may take up to 9 months or more to complete from the date of tender notice advertisement to signing of a contract. Therefore, award data might not be available until the following year.  The next report on this to be published by the OGP will report on 2014 spend and tendering activity. This information is not yet available.

The eTenders system incorporates a supplier register that holds company information as entered by each supplier. Historically, many suppliers have registered their company multiple times and/or with incomplete business profiles. Significant progress was made during 2014 to clean up supplier data and this work is still on-going.

The information requested by the Deputy relating to tender notices for the years 2011 to date, as entered by contracting authorities on eTenders, is being collated and will be issued directly to the Deputy.