Announcement fulfils key Programme for Government commitment to promote SME participation in public procurement market worth €8.5 billion each year.

Pictured L-R: Aidan Sweeney, Ibec; Declan Hughes, DBEI; Neil Kerrigan, Enterprise Ireland; Minister Of State Patrick O’Donovan TD; Jim Deane, OGP; Gillian Ross, Construction Industry Federation; Sven Spollen Behrens, SFA; Joan Grogan, OGP.

Minister of State with responsibility for Public Procurement, Patrick O’Donovan TD today (Thursday, 12 July) formally re-launched the Tender Advisory Service (TAS).  The Tender Advisory Service is an informal review mechanism that can be used by suppliers free of charge to raise concerns during a live procurement process.

TAS was developed in consultation with representatives of the SME sector to address issues that impact on SMEs participating in the public procurement process.  It forms part of a number of initiatives designed to ensure that Irish SMEs have full access to public procurement opportunities.

TAS operated on a pilot basis since 2015 and was subject to a review process which showed that it was a positive development and should be continued.  This formal launch is the next step in raising the profile of TAS to ensure that SMEs are fully aware of the service and what it has to offer.  TAS is managed by the Policy Unit within the Office of Government Procurement with assistance from a panel of external procurement experts.

Speaking at the launch, which was attended by members of the SME Advisory Group, Minister O’Donovan said:  “I hear the concerns of the SME sector first hand.  I chair the SME Advisory Group which meets regularly and was set up to ensure that the voice of Irish SMEs is heard by Government and the Office of Government Procurement.  I’m pleased to re-launch the Tender Advisory Service today, following consultation with this group.  The review of this service was a key initiative in the Programme for Government to support SME access to public procurement opportunities.”

The members of the SME Advisory group are: the Office of Government Procurement, ISME, Ibec, Construction Industry Federation, Chambers Ireland, and Small Firms Association as well as public sector groups such as Enterprise Ireland, InterTradeIreland, Dept. of Business Employment and Innovation and Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.