Dáil Éireann - Volume 460 - 31 January, 1996

Written Answers - Appointment of Consultants.

10. Miss Harney asked the Taoiseach the specific procedures that exist for the appointment of consultants to his Department. [1798/96]

11. Miss Harney asked the Taoiseach the specific procedures that exist within his Department for the awarding of public contracts. [1799/96]

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 10 and 11 together.

The specific procedures that operate for the appointment of consultants to my Department are those detailed in the guidelines provided by the Department of Finance for the awarding of public contracts.

Before awarding a consultancy contract my Department provides for competitive tendering by inviting at least three firms to tender except where clear justification exists for engaging a person with particular expertise.

Such specialists are engaged without competitive tendering. The total cost of such a contract would not usually exceed £5,000 but where it does, the sanction of the Minister for Finance is obtained.

Consultancies in excess of £50,000 also require sanction from the Department of Finance, even following a competitive tender. Consultancies are referred to the Government Contracts Committee if there is a specific need to depart from the contracting procedures just set down or where a matter of major importance with policy implications arises in regard to the contract.

The procedures for the award of public contracts in my Department are similar to the procedures I have outlined for consultancy contracts. In addition my

[1886] Department is bound by the various EU Directives on Public Procurement which provide for competitive tendering across member states.