Senator Lawlor insists the “race to the bottom” in Public Procurement has to change
17 school projects hit by insolvency of building contractors this year
17 projects have been affected by contractor insolvency in 2018. According to former Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton “more than 40 building companies have gone into liquidation so far this year.” Maynooth VEC and Community School have been affected.
Senator Lawlor said “the current race to the bottom in the delivery of public goods has to change. Delayed and unfinished school projects frustrate parents and pupils alike who simply want the best education possible in the location they choose. It may be difficult to argue against accepting the lowest bid but a balance must be struck between value for money and quality projects.”
Senator Lawlor also said that “we need to protect sub-contractors who are working on these projects. The current housing crisis is an issue of supply and these sub-contractors are integral to delivery of housing around the country.”
During a Seanad debate yesterday (18/10/2018) Senator Lawlor highlighted to Minister of State for Housing, Planning & Local Government Damien English the need for a change of approach by the the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Department of Education and Skills.
Minister of State English said “We recognise that awarding just on price which has probably happened in some cases in the past does not always get the best result. We are trying to change that system. We are looking at trying to award contracts based on the awards programme as well as considering speed of delivery and quality.”
“Price is not the only aspect but the weighting was probably skewed towards pricing over recent years and certainly when budgets were tight. It followed the national procurement policy. The Department is working on a new model that recognises an awards programme and delivery, a process which is common in other contracts. That will deal with some of those issues.”