Procurement Board: Efficiency

Oral Answers to Questions — Finance – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 20th April 2021.

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Photo of Mervyn Storey Mervyn Storey DUP 2:30 pm, 20th April 2021

T5. Mr Storey asked the Minister of Finance — after asking him to join with him, as a member of the Policing Board, in condemning the murderous attempt on the life of a part-time police constable in Limavady in the past few hours, to whom he sends his thoughts; welcoming the fact that the Minister will open the business fund tomorrow; and placing on record his appreciation to Land and Property Services (LPS) for the outstanding work that it has done — whether, in light of the fact that he has made changes to the Procurement Board, introduced social requirements and even thrown in climate change, he will also include efficiency measures, given that, already this week, two cases have been brought to him in which the problem has been procurement. (AQT 1215/17-22)

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

First, I concur with the Member's remarks about the incident in Limavady. I appreciate his remarks in relation to LPS and the work that it has done. I think that, like the Department, LPS is looking forward to getting back to what it is supposed to do, which is collecting rates. There is still some more work to be done to get support out there, and it has performed that function very effectively.

We of course want to make procurement as efficient as possible, and we are not looking simply at social value and how procurement can be of benefit more broadly. Procurement has to be done efficiently. We have to make sure that there is value for money and that the relationship between the way in which government awards contracts and the people who are in the sphere to try to provide services to government is as efficient as it can be. That is why we took the permanent secretaries off the Procurement Board and put in practitioners from various fields, including from construction, the social economy and a range of areas with direct experience of dealing with government. We did that to make sure that people are talking the same language and so that we can get an efficient outcome from procurement policy.

Photo of Roy Beggs Roy Beggs UUP 2:45 pm, 20th April 2021

That is the end of the period for questions to the Minister of Finance. I ask Members to take their ease for a few moments as we change places.