Social Investment Fund

Part of Oral Answers to Questions – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:00 pm on 12th May 2014.

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Photo of Jennifer McCann Jennifer McCann Sinn Féin 2:00 pm, 12th May 2014

The Member raises an important point about ensuring that local delivery partners are given that opportunity.  When procurement and government contracts go out, we hear that small and medium-sized businesses, particularly those from the community sector and from people who deliver in the community, can find the process difficult.  However, our preference is for locally designed interventions to be taken forward where there is the capacity and capability to deliver that. 

We believe that procurement projects could impact on training, employment and investment in local communities and, in the longer term, on regeneration.  As such, social and environmental requirements can be included in public contracts in so far as they comply with procurement rules.  Lead partners will be contracted to procure service providers who can deliver the specific projects that have been successful at appraisal stage, and we certainly welcome any collaborative approach whereby community groups can come together as consortia to build and deliver those projects, particularly within and across all the social investment zones.  As I said, community groups can sometimes find it very difficult to do that.