Demand stemming from the necessity for efficiency from the Covid-19 pandemic has enhanced the role of sound procurement practices, according to the annual procurement report for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
The report, which covers the spending on procurement by the public sector in 2021, states that, in the context of Ireland’s transition to a green economy, green procurement and its enhancement will be a priority going forward.
It further highlights the support for National Development Plan as one of the top achievements, stating that it played a seminal role in ensuring efficiency in 2021 with the increase in inflation, which took place throughout the year, presenting a major challenge in ensuring economic efficiency in public procurement.
The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) has also prioritised updating its framework agreements in line with commitments in the Programme for Government. In 2021, 42 of OGP’s 92 framework agreements were in line with green procurement practice (GPP) criteria
The report further states that the OGP’s sector sourcing partners in health, defence, education, and local government made strides in updating their framework agreements in line with GPP criteria in 2021:
- four of the local government’s 12 framework agreements are in line with GPP, and by 2023, all 12 will be updated;
- in health, 68 of the 108 framework agreements are in line with GPP criteria. Again, by 2023, it is expected all will be updated;
- when it comes to defence, purchasing arrangements are largely bespoke. In 2021, four Ammunition Framework Arrangements included environmental considerations as part of their award criteria; and
- of the Education Procurement Service’s (EPS) 23 framework agreements, eight are in line with GPP criteria. In 2020, EPS won the Best Green Procurement Award of the Year at the National Procurement Awards for its project ‘Reduction of single use plastics on UL Campus’.
In 2021, the OGP continued to update its framework agreements in line with GPP, and 42 framework agreements already contain some green measures. The OGP also awarded contracts for the provision of 100 per cent green electricity to more than 1,200 primary and secondary schools across the State.
In line with commitments under the Programme for Government and the Climate Action Plan 2021, those working in public procurement promoted green and social considerations throughout 2021. For example, the OGP presented on green, sustainable, social, and innovative procurement at a wide range of events aimed at procurement officers, decision makers, and suppliers.
The report defines green public procurement as a practice whereby public authorities seek to source goods, services, or works with a reduced environmental impact throughout their life cycle, compared to other goods, services, or works with the same function.
In addition, supply chains were affected in the State from the fallout of Brexit which resulted in considerations for all developments, including monitoring legal, policy and operational changes, and engaging with clients and suppliers.