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Mairéad Farrell TD to publish Public Procurement report

26 July, 2021 - by Mairéad Farrell TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, Mairéad Farrell TD, will publish her report on the use of social clauses in Irish public procurement this Friday.

Public procurement is the process by which the state and public entities contract with suppliers for goods, services and capital works. A social clause is a provision in a contract which requires contractors to meet certain social and/or environmental obligations. It is a legal requirement stipulating that the contract must provide some added Social Value.

Teachta Farrell said:

"EU states are big spenders when it comes to public procurement and Ireland is no different. We have an annual spend of around €12 billion and this is set to rise further in the coming years. 

"Therefore it is only natural that the state should try to use the spending of public money to support the public good. One way to do this is through the use of social clauses in procurement contracts. The EU Commission identifies them as a ‘strategic tool to drive social and labour policies forward in an effective manner’ and key to the EU’s Green New Deal. 

"They can be used for the purposes of labour activation in the form of hiring people off the live register and the creation of apprenticeships/training. They can also be used to promote the participation of the SMEs and those from marginalised groups, to increase labour standards (payment of the living wage) or to support environmental goals.

"Unfortunately, the Office of Government Procurement doesn’t collect information on social clause usage, nor do the Ministers for Public Expenditure and Minister for State (Procurement) compile a report. 

"My report investigates social clause usage in Ireland over a three-year period (2018 -2020). As part of this research government departments, local authorities and public bodies were surveyed on their use of social clauses. 

"Unlike some other EU jurisdictions, there is no publicly available database or departmental report on social clause use in Ireland. This deficiency in data collection, analysis and review required me to undertake this research myself which I will be publishing this Friday."

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