Public Procurement

Part of Oral Answers to Questions – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:00 pm on 17th February 2014.

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Photo of Simon Hamilton Simon Hamilton DUP 2:00 pm, 17th February 2014

It is important that the Central Procurement Directorate and I, as the Minister responsible for public procurement policy in Northern Ireland, listen to concerns or positive suggestions from representatives of particularly the construction industry but right across business.  My predecessor had an open door policy, and I have continued that in encouraging people who have issues around public procurement to come forward and raise them directly with me or with CPD.  We will not be found wanting in coming forward with solutions where and when we can.

The CPD has been working closely alongside industry to address problems that it raised with us.  For example, we have been working closely with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) focusing on reducing bidding costs, improving consistency across centres of procurement expertise (COPEs), reducing information demands in tenders and standardising documents.  The outcomes of that work were publicised at a public procurement conference that I attended at the end of January.

With the construction industry specifically, we have been working on developments on construction procurement, the most recent of which are the standardisation of pre-qualification questionnaires and the development of project bank accounts.  We have also been working with business on the dissemination of public procurement policy and the review of the delivery of procurements across business sectors.

I very much support joint working between business and government in improving procurement because it is so important to developing and growing the Northern Ireland economy.