Clare raises the issue of local flooding and the need for the OPW to take on board the views and knowledge of locals, who often know the history of the area better than the professionals.
QUESTION NO: 66
DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Deputy Simon Harris
by Deputy Clare Daly
for ORAL ANSWER on Tuesday, 19th January, 2016.
To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the steps he will take to ensure that the local knowledge of residents regarding patterns of flooding in their areas is taken into account as part of the medium-term and long-term efforts to deal with the flooding problem; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Clare Daly TD
The OPW’s Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme, which is implementing the 2007 EU Floods Directive requirements, is completing detailed assessment of 300 areas at potentially significant risk from flooding. The Programme, which is being undertaken by engineering consultants on behalf of the OPW, working in partnership with the Local Authorities, involves the production of predictive flood mapping for each location, the development of preliminary flood risk management options and the production of flood risk management plans.
Public consultation, which provides opportunities for interested persons to convey local flooding knowledge and the preferred solution, is a key element of the CFRAM Programme. To date this has involved:
· a public consultation to inform the designation of the 300 areas, that include 90 coastal areas, and
· meeting in person with each of these 300 communities to explain the assessed and predictive flood risks and their impact for their areas and importantly to get their local knowledge and insight. Separately a national consultation on flood risk maps finished on 23 December 2015.
· public consultation in person on options for each community is underway and will be complete in the coming weeks.
The publication of draft Flood Risk Management Plans, scheduled for summer 2016, will be followed by further programmes of consultation before the Plans are finalised. Members of the public may also contact the individual CFRAM Study engineering consultants by phone, post or email. Further details are available via www.cfram.ie.
When the OPW commences a major flood relief scheme there are opportunities, through local public information days, for the public to make observations on any emerging proposals. After the outline design of the preferred scheme is completed, a statutory four-week public exhibition is held followed by a month for submissions by interested parties.
QUESTION NO: 58
DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform (Deputy Brendan Howlin)
by Deputy Clare Daly
for ORAL ANSWER on 19/01/2016
To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the impact on Irish small and medium enterprises of the tendering process for Government contracts which favours big businesses; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Public Procurement is governed by EU and National rules. The aim of these rules is to promote an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which delivers best value for money. It would be a breach of the EU rules for a public body to favour or discriminate against particular candidates on grounds such as nationality, organisational size, etc. and there are legal remedies which may be used against any public body infringing these rules. That said at EU level there is a recognition of the need to promote and facilitate SME participation in public procurement.
Public spend data indicates that SME’s are already relatively successful in securing public service business. In March 2015, the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) published a Public Service Spend and Tendering Analysis report which indicated for example that 66% of public service expenditure was with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in 2013.
The Government acknowledges the significant role that SMEs play in the Irish economy and is committed to ensuring that SMEs are fully engaged with public sector procurement.
As evidence of this in April 2014 my Department issued Circular 10/14 which set out a number measures aimed at promoting SME involvement in public sector procurement including encouraging more on-line open tendering, reducing bidders’ turnover requirements, promoting the use of proportional and reasonable insurance requirements, and breaking larger contracts into lots. The OGP also works with industry representative bodies to promote the engagement of SMEs in public procurement (including ISME, IBEC, SFA, Chambers Ireland, and CIF) as well as the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, InterTrade Ireland and Enterprise Ireland. Practical examples of the type of strong interagency work and co-operation in this area is seen in the OGP support for the ‘Meet the Buyer’ events, “Go-To-Tender” workshops and “Taking Care of Business” which were attended by over 2,000 businesses in 2015.
I would also point the Deputy to the “Progress Report of the High Level Group on SME Access to Public Procurement” recently published on 7th January on the OGP website which details the various initiatives (some of which I have alluded to above) that have been put in place by this Government since 2013 to facilitate SME access to Public Procurement.
In conclusion, the reform of public procurement across the public service is on-going and will continue to provide opportunities to the SME sector to win business. The Office of Government Procurement will continue to work with industry to ensure that winning government business is done in a fair, transparent and accessible way and to ensure that government procurement policies are business friendly.