Howlin welcomes the Launch of Action Plan for Jobs 2014

Issued 27 February 2014

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform today (27 February 2014) welcomed the publication of the 2014 Action Plan for Jobs (APJ). It aims to build on the significant progress which has occurred in job-creation since the first Action Plan was launched in February 2012, with 61,000 extra jobs added to the year-end 2013. According to Live Register figures, the unemployment rate has declined for 19 consecutive months, and has gone from 15.1% in February 2012 to 12.3% in January 2014.

Speaking today, the Minister said, “The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is pleased to be associated with the APJ. The Whole –of-Government Approach to the APJ is clearly working”

Action Plan for Jobs 2014 builds on the more than 500 measures already implemented through Action Plan for Jobs 2012 and 2013, and contains 385 actions to be implemented by all 16 Government Departments and 46 Agencies.

Continuing, the Minister remarked “In order to actively assist job growth, my Department is committed to maximising procurement opportunities. The public sector has an immense purchasing power, spending in the region of €8.5 billion per annum on goods and services in addition to expenditure on public works. This level of expenditure by the public sector affords significant business opportunities for firms that can supply the products and services that are required by public bodies. As part of the Public Service Reform Plan, the Government is committed to reforming the public procurement process and has established an Office of Government Procurement to drive a new consolidated and integrated approach to public procurement. We are also reviewing and updating the Government’s Procurement Guidelines and Procedures to address any obstacles to SMEs participating as fully as possible in the public procurement process. We will continue to support Irish companies seeking to participate in procurement contracts overseas; and encourage a wider approach to purchasing innovative solutions to meet public sector needs.”

Pull Quotes

“The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is pleased to be associated with the APJ. The Whole –of-Government Approach to the APJ is clearly working”

“In order to actively assist job growth, my Department is committed to maximising procurement opportunities. The public sector has an immense purchasing power, spending in the region of €8.5 billion per annum on goods and services in addition to expenditure on public works. This level of expenditure by the public sector affords significant business opportunities for firms that can supply the products and services that are required by public bodies. As part of the Public Service Reform Plan, the Government is committed to reforming the public procurement process and has established an Office of Government Procurement to drive a new consolidated and integrated approach to public procurement. We are also reviewing and updating the Government’s Procurement Guidelines and Procedures to address any obstacles to SMEs participating as fully as possible in the public procurement process. We will continue to support Irish companies seeking to participate in procurement contracts overseas; and encourage a wider approach to purchasing innovative solutions to meet public sector needs.”

ENDS

Note to Editors:

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Action Points:

Review and update Government Procurement Guidelines and Procedures

240 In consultation with the Chief State Solicitors Office, maintain and update the standard suite of tender and contract documentation for goods and services and encourage their wider use across the public service. This will bring about a more consistent approach to procurement which will assist SMEs in accessing procurement opportunities by reducing legal and administrative costs.

(OGP)

241 Establish a working group comprised of SME stakeholders that will examine ways to improve SME access to public procurement opportunities.

(OGP)

242 Commence work on the transposition of the new EU Procurement Directives to take advantage of the revised procedures designed to encourage SME access (transposition will be completed in 2015).

(OGP)

243 Following consultation with SME stakeholders, and in the context of the transposition of the new EU Procurement Directives, revise procurement Circular 10/10 in line with the on-going transposition of the Directives, to encourage greater SME access to procurement.

(OGP)

244 Pilot informal procedures for engagement between tenderers and Contracting Authorities to provide clarity and advice in relation to criteria included in tendering notices.

(OGP)

245 As part of the OGP’s programme to improve general statistical information, establish a Business Intelligence Unit that will, as part of its remit, gather strategic data on the businesses that are participating in public procurement processes.

(OGP)

Improve the capacity of SMEs to tender for public sector contracts

246 Continue to encourage SMEs to register on, and use, the State's eProcurement web portal www.etenders.gov.ie.

(OGP, EI)

247 Work to increase SME awareness of public procurement opportunities through the OGP, Enterprise Ireland and InterTradeIreland.

(OGP, EI, InterTradeIreland, NDFA)

248 Provide information to SMEs on approaches to multiparty tendering from a competition and procurement law perspective.

(OGP, Competition Authority)

Encourage greater purchasing of innovative solutions

251 Examine practical ways to highlight the merits of purchasing innovative products and services, where appropriate, as a means of achieving cost savings in public procurement.

(OGP, EI, DJEI)

252 Introduce, on a pilot basis, a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme which will provide opportunities for innovative solutions to be developed to meet the needs of public bodies.

(EI with relevant Departments/agencies)

27 February 2014