The Department is committed to achieving value for money in the procurement of supplies and services essential to support its work in providing high quality service to the public in a cost effective and efficient manner. Procurement by the Department takes place in the context of EU Directive 18 of 2004 and supported by Procurement Guidelines published by the Department of Finance. The guiding principles are transparency and openness of competition. The Department participates fully in on-going initiatives of the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) based in the Office of Public Works (OPW), focusing especially at achieving procurement savings, including the use of shared framework agreements for the provision of an increasing number of categories of supplies and services. The Department is committed to facilitating access to procurement opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly those providing innovative solutions. All significant tenders are advertised on e-tenders as detailed below.
How we purchase
Procurement of goods and services by the Department is on the basis of competitive tendering. Award of tenders without a competitive process is only permitted in exceptional circumstance and then only in conformity with criteria set down in EU directive 18/2004. The following are the tendering methods used having regard to the estimated value of the contract:
- All procurements above €25,000 are advertised on e-tenders and those over €135,000 are also advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union. Contracts above this threshold are awarded in accordance with the requirements of EU Directive 2004/18/EC as transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Award of Public Authorities' Contracts) 2006 (S.I. 329 of 2006);
- All ICT related procurements exceeding €10,000 in value are advertised on the eTenders [requirements are increasingly drawn down from OGP Frameworks Agreements established as a result of tenders advertised by the OGP on e-tenders];
- For all other procurements under €25,000 specifications are circulated to at least three providers.
What we purchase
The following is a broad indication of the main areas in which the Department purchases goods and services.
Communications and ICT Equipment and Services
Increasingly the needs of Information Systems Division are met from Office of Government Procurement central framework agreements. Such agreements are in place for the purchase of desktop computers, laptops, printers, and mobile phone services. Details of these arrangements may be viewed at http://ictprocurement.gov.ie/.
The Department has a requirement for other ICT services and equipment. Requirements are advertised on the e-tenders website as and when they arise.
Consultancy & IT External Service Provision
The Department has occasional requirements for management consultancy services which may be needed to provide advice or specialised technical expertise which is not otherwise available to the Department. This includes support relating to:
- Strategic multi-annual programmes aimed at enhancing the delivery of the Department's services e.g. the Service Delivery Modernisation (SDM) Programme [Further details on the SDM Programme are available here];
- Technical projects pertaining to the on-going development of information technology systems;
- Other projects to support, for example, policy development and the provision of information.
A detailed breakdown of the annual expenditure on Consultancy & IT External Service Provision from 2011 to 2015 is available here.
Facilities Management Supplies & Services
Stationery and office consumables are generally procured on the basis of centralised draw-down contracts awarded by the Office of Government Procurement, including cleaning services, security services and waste management services may be procured directly by the Department from time to time, through competitions advertised on eTenders and OJEU.
How to access opportunities
It is Department policy to use the government procurement website (http://www.etenders.gov.ie/) when advertising tenders. Suppliers/service providers who are interested in monitoring potential business opportunities should register on the e-tenders database so that they may be alerted whenever a tender of interest to their area of activity is published. Registration on the e-tenders suppliers database is free of charge.
Vendors interested in tendering for provision of goods or services which would not normally be advertised on e-tenders (below €10,000 for ICT and €25,000 for other categories) should send their details to the addresses below:
Facilities Management Goods & Services: John Lee AP, Facilities Management Unit, Department of Social Protection, Floor 1 - Áras Mhic Dhiarmada, Store Street, Dublin 1.
Communications and ICT Equipment and Services: John Bohan, Principal, Department of Social Protection, Floor 2, Gandon House, Dublin 2
Payment of invoices
Payment of invoices by the Department is governed by the Prompt Payment of Accounts Act, 1997 as amended by the European Communities (Late Payment in Commercial Transactions) Regulations 2002. The legislation provides for the payment of interest on valid invoices which are unpaid after 30 days from the date of receipt. The Department complies with a further non-statutory requirement introduced by the government in June 2009 to reduce the payment period by Central Government Departments to their suppliers from 30 to 15 days.
Publication of Purchase Orders over €20,000
As required under the Public Service Reform Plan published in November 2011, the Department publishes Purchase Orders for €20,000 or over on our website. Purchase Orders are published quarterly in arrears and reports commencing with quarter 3 2012 are available for download from the right hand side download section.