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21 October 2009

F&P 03/09/10


The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Finance and Personnel will today pilot a new approach to evidence gathering as part of its Inquiry into Public Procurement Policy and Practice in Northern Ireland.

Around 100 participants, including local business representatives, procurement experts from across Ireland and the United Kingdom, and those involved in purchasing, will join the Committee at a specially arranged Stakeholder Conference at the Dunsilly Hotel, Antrim.

Speaking ahead of the conference Committee Chairperson, Jennifer McCann, MLA said: “Public procurement accounts for almost 25% of total public sector spend each year and amounts to around £2bn. Evidence the Committee has heard to date has highlighted a range of issues and barriers facing local Small and Medium Enterprises and Social Economy Enterprises as they try to access these contracts.

“However, today’s conference is about finding ways forward and it is vital that we identify ways in which local businesses, including SMEs and the Social Economy sector, can benefit from these opportunities. As a Committee we are looking forward to the conference and the participation and ideas of all parties involved in the procurement process. The ideas and suggestions flowing out from today will inform the Committee’s recommendations to the Finance Minister and the Executive.”


Notes for Editors

  1. The Committee for Finance and Personnel is one of 11 Statutory Committees of the Northern Ireland Assembly, which are set up to advise and assist each Northern Ireland Minister in the formulation of policy with respect to matters within his/her responsibilities as a Minister.  Statutory Committees have powers as described in Strand One of the Belfast Agreement i.e. a scrutiny, policy development and consultation role with respect to the department with which each is associated, together with a role in the initiation of legislation.
  2. As per paragraph 9 of Strand One of the Belfast Agreement, Statutory Committees have the power to:
    • consider and advise on departmental budgets and annual plans in the context of the overall budget allocation;
    • approve relevant secondary legislation and take the Committee stage of relevant primary legislation;
    • call for persons and papers;
    • initiate inquiries and make reports; and,
    • consider and advise on matters brought to the Committee by its Minister.
  3. Committee Members:

Jennifer McCann (Chairperson) (Sinn Fein)
Peter Weir (Deputy Chairperson) (DUP)
Dr Stephen Farry (Alliance)
Simon Hamilton (DUP)
Fra McCann (Sinn Fein)
Mitchel McLaughlin (Sinn Fein)
David McNarry (UUP)
Adrian McQuillan (DUP)
Declan O’Loan (SDLP)
Ian Paisley Jnr (DUP)
Dawn Purvis (PUP)

  1. The Public Procurement Stakeholder Conference: Maximising the Economic and Social Benefits from Public Procurement, will take place at Dunsilly Hotel, Antrim on Wednesday 21 October, beginning at 9.30am.
  2. The terms of reference for the Committee Inquiry into Public Procurement Policy and Practice can be found here.
  3. Further information on the work of the Committee is available on the Committee pages of the Northern Ireland Assembly website:

Media enquiries should be addressed to:

Debra Savage,
Communications Officer
Northern Ireland Assembly
Telephone 028 9052 1405
Mobile : 07920 864221