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22 April 2010

F&P 06/09/10


Steps to improve opportunities for smaller businesses and social enterprises to bid for public contracts should be implemented quickly. That’s the response from local stakeholders to the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for Finance and Personnel’s recent Report into public procurement in Northern Ireland.

Responding to the feedback Committee Chairperson, Jennifer McCann MLA, said: “We received very positive feedback from the Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson, stakeholders in the private and voluntary sectors and the trade unions. This response emphasises not only the importance of public procurement to local businesses and communities, but also the need to maximise the long-term beneficial social, economic and environmental outcomes of procurement expenditure.

“In particular stakeholders from all sectors have welcomed our recommendations which seek to improve access to procurement opportunities for local small and very small businesses. These recommendations will also maximise social benefit; something that we should all be striving for.

“With upwards of £3 billion spent each year on public procurement here, it is vital that the Report recommendations are acted on. As a Committee we therefore welcome the initial response from Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson, who has indicated that the report will have a major part to play in further developing procurement policy. We look forward in the coming weeks to receiving his Department’s full response and implementation plan.”

The Report on the Inquiry into Public Procurement Policy and Practice was launched in the Northern Ireland Assembly on 23 February and contains over 40 recommendations for the Northern Ireland Executive, the Procurement Board and the Department of Finance and Personnel.

Notes for Editors
  1. Two of the key conclusions and recommendations from the Report on the Inquiry into Public Procurement Policy and Practice were:
  1. The full list of recommendations can be accessed in the Report at
  2. The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry into Public Procurement Policy and Practice:
Information about the Committee

The Committee for Finance and Personnel is one of the statutory committees established by the Northern Ireland Assembly on 9 May 2007.

As per paragraph 9 of Strand One of the Belfast Agreement, Statutory Committees have the power to:

Committee Members:

Jennifer McCann (Chairperson) (Sinn Fein)

David McNarry (Deputy Chairperson) (UUP)

Jonathan Craig (DUP)
Dr Stephen Farry ( Alliance)
Simon Hamilton (DUP)
Fra McCann (Sinn Fein)
Mitchel McLaughlin (Sinn Fein)
Adrian McQuillan (DUP)
Declan O’Loan (SDLP)
Ian Paisley Jnr (DUP)
Dawn Purvis (PUP)

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