Welcome to the first edition of our eZine.
Public Procurement Services is the recently established public sector business unit of Bid and Tender Management Services Limited. Our objective is to provide guidance, advice, assistance and training to the public sector through our extensive experience in the tender management process.
National Procurement Services Seminar
Attended by over 200 Buyers, The National Procurement Services (NPS) seminar on the theme “Effective Public Procurement” took place in Dublin Castle on 14th April 2011. The seminar was opened by Brian Hayes T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Finance with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works, including the NPP. Speakers covered a number of topics, as follows:
- Procurement collaboration in the Scottish Public Service
- How to approach the procurement of Annex IIB Services e.g. legal services
- Standstill notices as required by the Remedies Directive
In addition, Joanne Gillen, Managing Director of Bid and Tender Management Services presented on “Public Procurement – An SME perspective”.
New NPS Website
Public Procurement Services welcomes the NPS’s updated procurement web portalwww.procurement.ie which was launched at the recent seminar. This website provides information for organisations interested in tendering for public sector contracts in Ireland. It also contains information on live contracts, frameworks and publication on upcoming opportunities. There are also useful publications and resources for buyers and suppliers listed.
Procurement Can Drive Savings
An article in the Irish Times on Friday 22nd April titled “State to demand price cuts from suppliers to reduce €16bn bill” quotes the Minister of State for Public Service Reform stating that “the Government is to demand significant cuts in prices from the 30 largest companies supplying goods and services to Departments and State organisations in an attempt to cut 10% from an annual bill of €16 billion”. Minister Hayes is adopting the approach taken by the UK Cabinet Office’s Efficiency and Reform Group, which has had considerable success in cutting costs and wasteful spending. Public Procurement Services can advise Contracting Authorities in reviewing current spending with a view to identifying the scope for achieving possible contract savings. While the UK’s approach has its merits, it needs to be borne in mind that there are far fewer large-scale Framework Agreements in Ireland. It is through the driving of efficiencies under these Agreements that real savings can be made.
We understand that the suite of template documentation including Pre-Qualification Questionnaire and Request for Tender documents currently being developed by the NPS (in conjunction with the Chief State Solicitors Office) are nearing completion and will be available shortly. These templates, which are eagerly awaited by Buyers and Suppliers alike, will help standardise tender specification and response documents including contract terms and conditions for use across the public sector. Public Procurement Services will deliver training for Buyers once these templates are to hand.
Feedback that we have received indicates that many Contracting Authorities have not implemented the revised procedures outlined in Circular 10/10 which are aimed at facilitating SME participation in public procurement. There seems to be considerable resistance, perhaps due the lack of training, to some of the Circular’s key provisions, in particular as regards briefing unsuccessful bidders and accepting evidence of insurance prior to contract award. If you need support as regards the implementation of this important guidance, please consider enrolling on the Public Procurement Services training programme on Circular 10/10.
State Financial Institutions
It appears that some of the State’s majority owned financial institutions are not implementing the Government’s public procurement procedures. There is an urgent need for the Department of Finance and the NPS to issue guidance in case tenders are awarded in breach of the EU Procurement Directives.
Leaving aside the politics, the McCarthy report has highlighted a significant number of instances where it will be necessary for public bodies to issue tenders as the specialist work involved is probably outside the framework of existing arrangements. For example, both shareholders and the State companies will each need separate sets of advisors. In addition, tenders will have to be published where dedicated research is recommended, for example to determine the valuation of assets, as regards the legislation governing the economic regulatory agencies, and in relation to pension deficits.
Framework for Legal Services
As part of the EU/IMF Agreement, a major reform of the legal services is on the cards by the end of Q3/2011. An important element of this package will be the publication of a tender to appoint lawyers to a multi-annual Framework Agreement. The procurement of some €500m+ in fees paid for legal services was the subject of a (January 2011) report by the Committee of Public Accounts.
Buyers are encouraged to attend two events organised by InterTradeIreland which will be held on 25th May (Cookstown) and 22nd June in Dublin Castle; more details can be found onwww.intertradeireland.com/public_procurement
If you would like to discuss any of the above items please contact Francis Carroll, Public Procurement Specialist on 01 5252645 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org