DE: Procurement

Part of Education – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 7 June 2011.

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Photo of John O'Dowd John O'Dowd Sinn Féin 2:30, 7 June 2011

My predecessor brought in a number of reviews in relation to procurement across the education boards. My departmental officials are further exploring those to see how we can expand that area. As part of their examinations, I have raised with them the issue not only of how we protect SMEs but of how we should expand their role. I also want them to look at how we can use the spending power of Departments to ensure that we tackle social disadvantage and long-term unemployment in all those matters. I hope to report to the House at a later stage. I suspect that it will be after the summer recess before we know how the procurement policy will roll out. Suggestions on how we tackle social disadvantage will certainly be contained in that document, and I am open to suggestions on that.