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Maximising the Economic and Social Benefits from Public Procurement,
Wednesday 21 October 2009,
Dunsilly Hotel, Antrim

The Committee for Finance and Personnel is undertaking an inquiry into the public procurement process in Northern Ireland. The aim of this is to maximise the involvement of local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Social Economy Enterprises (SEEs) in the public procurement process in Northern Ireland and, in doing so, achieve additional economic and social benefits.

To date, the Committee has received a number of written submissions and heard oral evidence from a range of stakeholders. Based on this, the Committee has identified

a) a range of issues facing SMEs and SEEs in relation to public procurement; and,

b) a variety of suggestions on how the public procurement process might be revised in order to enhance the involvement of local SMEs and SEEs.

Stakeholder Conference

To further support the work of the inquiry the Committee is holding a one-day Stakeholder Conference on Wednesday 21 October at the Dunsilly Hotel, Antrim (formerly Comfort Hotel).

The conference will involve input from recognised commentators on public procurement processes both locally and further afield, and will offer participants (government purchasers and representatives from the local SME and SEE sectors) the opportunity to feedback on a number of issues pertinent to the Committee inquiry through breakout sessions. This will give Committee members the opportunity to engage directly with those involved in all sides of the procurement process. An outline programme is attached for your information. The event will be facilitated by the Social Research Centre, a local independent research company specialising in social policy research and itself a SME.

The aim of this interaction is to identify policy interventions and practical measures to address the key issues raised in the evidence sessions to date. These will inform the recommendations of the Committee inquiry, which, in turn, will inform future government policy on public procurement in Northern Ireland.

For more information about the Stakeholder Conference please contact or telephone 028 9052 1858.