A key Information Note produced by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) was launched yesterday, by Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan TD, with special responsibility for Public Procurement, Open Government and eGovernment together with Minister of State David Stanton TD, with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration and Finian McGrath TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for Disability Issues.

Public procurement can be used to encourage suppliers to include actions that advance social and environmental policy considerations. The range of policies is broad and can include disability access, training for young or disadvantaged people and environmental sustainability.

The purpose of the Information Note is to assist policy makers and practitioners in understanding how public procurement can be used to facilitate the advancement of existing social policy objectives as well as the wider context and implications of including them in particular public procurement projects.

Speaking at the launch, Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan TD said, “I am pleased to launch this document today. The possibility for public bodies to deliver social and environmental aims through their public procurement processes is a positive development and I welcome the publication of this Information Note. The Note explains how contracting authorities can use their purchasing power to invest in and advance the Government’s social and environmental policy priorities in a structured and targeted way.”

In general, the inclusion of social considerations in a procurement process is most effective where the benefit is a core requirement and can be directly linked to objectives of the contract. The social objectives should be clear and verifiable through the inclusion of an appropriate monitoring process.

The Office of Government Procurement can help facilitate the process of incorporating these objectives, once agreed, into planned public procurement projects. The OGP intends establishing a Social Considerations Advisory Group which will bring together relevant officials from policy Departments with procurement practitioners to facilitate this process.

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