Question Time: Finance and Personnel 30 June 2014

Session: 2013/2014

Date: 30 June 2014


The Minister of Finance and Personnel responded to a number of questions including the subjects of Public Procurement and Public Sector Reform.

When asked what proposals the Minister had on the removal of barriers faced by small and medium-sized enterprises when accessing public procurement opportunities, he stated:

Central Procurement Directorate (CPD), in conjunction with centres of procurement expertise (COPEs), has implemented a significant number of measures aimed at improving SME access. They include simplifying processes by focusing on the production of clearer specifications; standardising terms and conditions for all contracts; removing the minimum eligibility requirements for low-value supplies and services contracts; and awarding contracts on lowest acceptable price when possible.

The Minister was asked to outline how he intends to take forward his public sector reform agenda.

"The Executive recently endorsed my proposal to engage the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, more commonly known as the OECD, to conduct a strategic review of public sector reform in Northern Ireland...
"There are two broad areas that the terms of reference will enable them to look at in terms of reform in Northern Ireland...
"The first is in what might be described as cross-cutting areas and levers for making reform happen, which is things like procurement, HR policy, IT and digitalisation. The second area of work that I have also received support from Executive colleagues to look at is particular areas of policy."

During topical questions it was noted that over 25,000 people emigrated from Northern Ireland last year; the Minister was quizzed on photovoltaic payback and the use of renewable energy; meeting the governor of the Bank of England; the Family Law Review and finally the delivery of major infrastructure projects. You can read the full transcript on our website.

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