The Public Sector Reform Function was established in ETBI in September 2010 with procurement reform very much at the centre of initiatives. Deemed ‘one of the best in the public sector’, this function has helped facilitate the transformation of the procurement landscape within the sector in a number of key ways:
- Central liaison point between ETBs, the OGP, the Dept. of Education and Skills and other key stakeholders
- Facilitation of ETB participation in national frameworks and contracts in order to achieve significant savings and efficiencies
- Establishment of the ETB Procurement Network to facilitate networking, resource sharing and the delivery of a comprehensive programme of upskilling for ETB procurement personnel (e.g. public procurement; eTenders; construction procurement)
- Participation in outreach initiatives with SMEs
- Development of the ETB Sector’s capacity to design, develop and implement sector-specific procurement initiatives
- Representing the voice of ETBs at the ‘new centre’ of public procurement in the recently established Office of Government Procurement (OGP)
ETBs procure a wide range of goods and services in order to meet the needs of the administrative offices, schools, further education and training centres under their remit. They also manage devolved building projects in cooperation with the Department of Education and Skills Schools Building Unit. This involves procuring design teams and contractors on individual projects in accordance with relevant procurement regulations. ETB’s also ensure that all capital projects operate in compliance with Department Technical Guidance Documents, Building Regulations etc.
Since 2011 the sixteen ETBs have actively participated in national contracts and frameworks (e.g. energy, stationery and office supplies etc.). They also have an established ETB Procurement Network which meets quarterly in order to promote the ongoing professionalising of procurement within the sector.
ETB Schools and Centres are supported in their procurement activity by their local ETB Administrative Office - details here
Procurement personnel in ETBs are supported by the Public Sector Reform (PSR) Unit which is based in Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI), the national representative association for ETBs. Further details here
Map of ETBs here
List of ETBs here
Contact for PSR Unit in ETBI firstname.lastname@example.org
OGP website www.procurement.ie OGP email: email@example.com
- Why should I use centralised contracts and frameworks?
Using centralised contracts and frameworks offers a number of advantages. It ensures compliance with procurement regulations and guidelines and removes the administrative burden of running a formal tender process. Through economies of scale they can also often deliver best value for taxpayers’ money.
- Do I have to use centralised contracts & frameworks?
It is generally ETB policy to use centralised contracts and frameworks. If you have any questions regarding your ETB’s policy, you should contact your local ETB administrative office for advice. Details here
Where public bodies do not utilise central procurement frameworks they should be in a position to provide a value for money justification.
- What do I do if there’s a centralised contract or framework in place but I can get better value elsewhere?
While suppliers may be willing to offer exceptional discounts for a period of time for particular products or services, it is important for ETBs to consider their ongoing and overall requirements before purchasing outside a centralised contract or framework. They also need to remain compliant with public procurement guidelines. ETB schools and centres should check with their ETB Administrative Office if they require further information.
- How do I access centralised procurement arrangements?
All current and upcoming national contracts and frameworks are listed on the OGP’s website www.procurement.ie In order to access full information, you will need to register as a public sector Buyer via their website. (Suppliers – see question 6 below).
- I need to procure ICT-related goods or services- what should I do?
In the first instance you should make contact with your local ETB Administrative office for further information / ICT liaison. The rules and guidelines for ICT procurement differ from other goods and services in that approval from the Department of Education and Skills ETB/ SOLAS Programme Management Office is required and procurements with an estimated contract value in excess of €10,000 also require publication on eTenders
- I’m a supplier – how do I tender for ETB business?
You should ensure that you are registered as a supplier on both the OGP website www.procurement.ie and eTenders http://www.etenders.gov.ie/ Some ETBs also publish tendering information/ opportunities on their websites. See map and list of ETBs.
- I work in an ETB- where can I get more information about public procurement guidelines and thresholds?
Your first stop for procurement advice/ information should be your local ETB administrative office. There is information on public procurement guidelines here and a guide to current EU-thresholds here .