Public Procurement Recommendations Welcomed by Local Enterprises

Session: 2009/2010

Date: 22 April 2010

Reference: F&P 06/09/10

Steps to improve opportunities for smaller businesses and social enterprises to bid for public contracts should be implemented quickly. That’s the response from local stakeholders to the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Finance and Personnel’s recent Report into public procurement in Northern Ireland.

Responding to the feedback Committee Chairperson, Jennifer McCann MLA, said: “We received very positive feedback from the Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson, stakeholders in the private and voluntary sectors and the trade unions. This response emphasises not only the importance of public procurement to local businesses and communities, but also the need to maximise the long-term beneficial social, economic and environmental outcomes of procurement expenditure.

“In particular stakeholders from all sectors have welcomed our recommendations which seek to improve access to procurement opportunities for local small and very small businesses. These recommendations will also maximise social benefit; something that we should all be striving for.

“With upwards of £3 billion spent each year on public procurement here, it is vital that the Report recommendations are acted on. As a Committee we therefore welcome the initial response from Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson, who has indicated that the report will have a major part to play in further developing procurement policy. We look forward in the coming weeks to receiving his Department’s full response and implementation plan.”

The Report on the Inquiry into Public Procurement Policy and Practice was launched in the Northern Ireland Assembly on 23 February and contains over 40 recommendations for the Northern Ireland Executive, the Procurement Board and the Department of Finance and Personnel.

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