Sean Farren: The procurement review team’s report, which has been subject to public consultation, includes recommendations aimed at ensuring that environmental issues are integrated into public procurement policy. The contributions to the consultation exercise are being considered together with the team’s recommendations, and I will bring forward policy proposals to the Executive in due course.
Francie Molloy: 1. asked the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to detail the progress made on (i) the issue of local procurement by Government; and (ii) ensuring this procurement is fair and equitable. (AQO 1690/08)
Mitchel McLaughlin: ...Comhairle. I thank the Minister for his answer. In the context of addressing the challenges facing the small- and medium-sized enterprises, will the Minister consider reviewing the public procurement policy so as to enable local SMEs to tender for the procurement of elements of the major capital projects?
Jennifer McCann: Does the Minister accept that, when we talk about the social value of procurement, we are not necessarily saying that economic value, or value for money, should not be measured as well? If social clauses are included in the procurement policy, there will be better economic effects in the longer term.
Francie Molloy: 4. asked the Minister for Regional Development for his assessment of the procurement failures identified in the Public Accounts Committee’s report ‘Measuring the Performance of NI Water and Procurement and Governance in NI Water’. (AQO 1256/11)
Tom Elliott: 6. asked the Minister of Finance and Personnel for his assessment of whether the procurement system currently used by the Central Procurement Directorate is of benefit to small and medium-sized enterprises. (AQO 314/11-15)
Jo-Anne Dobson: I thank the Minister for her statement. There were issues surrounding the Loughs Agency’s procurement procedures. Can the Minister outline how it is possible that the finished vessel provides value for money, when significant weaknesses were identified in the agency’s procurement procedure? What weaknesses were identified?
Conall McDevitt: Maybe I will press the Minister a little bit on this issue. In the Minister's opinion, is it a conflict of interest if a senior official of a procuring authority is party to the decisions to procure services from another organisation in which he has a directorial role?
Christopher Hazzard: ...maith agat, a Cheann Comhairle. I welcome the Minister's statement, and I welcome specifically the emphasis by InterTradeIreland on assisting SMEs to build partnerships in the context of public procurement. Perhaps the Minister will provide further clarity on how she proposes to ensure that SMEs can fully benefit from island-wide procurement opportunities.
John Stewart: We should do absolutely everything we can. There is so much to say about this but, ultimately, I would like to see a Northern Ireland-first approach to public-sector procurement, channelling as much money as possible from our public-sector procurement scheme into giving a lifeline to companies that are here now.
Stephen Farry: Mr Deputy Speaker, with your permission, I will answer questions 3, 4, 8 and 15 together, and I request an additional minute for the answer. Procurement for the Steps 2 Success employment programme, which is designed to move people from unemployment and economic inactivity into suitable sustained employment, is current. The procurement exercise is being carried out under the guidance of...
Alban Maginness: ...statement and congratulate him on it. Here is one Minister who does not ignore or avoid problems and does not sleepwalk through his ministry. Given the findings of those reports, particularly about procurement, can any general lesson be learned for the public sector? Those are pertinent to the way that procurement is carried out across the public sector.
Martina Anderson: Gabhaim buíochas leis an Aire as a fhreagra. I thank the Minister for his answer. Minister, as you know, the Finance Minister has made social value a mandatory component of procurement contracts. Can you confirm that there will be social clauses in the procurement contracts coming on stream and that social value will be an integral part of the capital funding for Derry?
Simon Hamilton: ...subject of a strategic review of the commissioning and delivery system for major infrastructure projects in Northern Ireland undertaken by the Strategic Investment Board and my Department's Central Procurement Directorate. The report of that review has been presented to the procurement board, which I chair. The procurement board has set up a subgroup to address the issues raised by the...
Michelle Gildernew: No. Part of the cost of the vessel is being recouped from the EU. A business case was put to the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) through an EU-regulated procurement competition that Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) oversaw. Ofcom did not contribute to the purchase of the vessel. It was bought by my Department together with an amount of money from the EU.
Sammy Wilson: I am not in a position to do that. As I said to Mr McCrea, it is now up to the Department of Justice to take the project forward. Obviously, procurement comes under my Department’s remit. We will advise on procurement and how best to move that process along. However, it is really up to the Department of Justice to take the project forward.
Alex Attwood: ...the operation of a Ministry. He might want to tell some of his Executive colleagues that when it comes to the review of public administration, but that is for another day. However, the point around procurement is well made and timely. Given the number of sites that we have and the commitment and urgency to repatriate, there needs to be certainty in respect of the processes around...
Arlene Foster: ...years, and we have already hit our Programme for Government target to create 6,500 jobs. We have created 6,600 jobs. I take very much what he is saying about mapping out. I want to look at public procurement practices and, instead of looking at current public procurement practices, we very much need to consider the Finance and Personnel Committee’s suggestion that we move away from that...
Deirdre Hargey: Yes, all those things are considered when you go to procurement. The issue was raised recently, so we are scoping that out and looking at it. We will obviously consider that as we write procurement contracts. If the Member has any specific details, I would be happy to respond to him directly, but we will want to tighten up that area in the foreseeable future.
Jennifer McCann: Go raibh maith agat. Will provision be made in any future public-sector procurement to allow local small and medium-sized enterprises and social-economy enterprises the opportunity to bid for contracts from which previous parameters would have largely excluded them? Will there be provisions in procurement requirements to specifically target and benefit geographical areas and resource profiles...