Procurement Policy

Oral Answers to Questions — Finance – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 27th September 2021.

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Photo of Maolíosa McHugh Maolíosa McHugh Sinn Féin 3:15 pm, 27th September 2021

6. Mr McHugh asked the Minister of Finance how his new procurement policy will benefit voluntary and community groups. (AQO 2471/17-22)

Photo of Conor Murphy Conor Murphy Sinn Féin

A new procurement policy note on scoring social value was published in July following endorsement by the Executive. In support of that policy, training on bidding for government contracts will be rolled out to voluntary and community groups. In addition, I plan to bring a new policy on the procurement of social and community-type services to the Executive. That policy will ensure that, when commissioning social and community services, Departments must engage with communities and service providers to establish whether grant funding is a more appropriate mechanism. If procurement is the appropriate route, Departments will be required to remove unfair barriers for community and voluntary groups.

The policy note provides guidance on reserving contracts for the voluntary and community sector and highlights the provisions in the existing procurement legislation to create markets solely for third sector bodies. Currently, there are only two local examples of contracts being reserved in that manner. That needs to change.

Photo of Alex Maskey Alex Maskey Sinn Féin

That ends the period for listed questions, unfortunately for Mr McHugh.

We now move to 15 minutes of topical questions. Topical questions 1, 6 and 7 have been withdrawn.