We use the public procurement process to engage the services of specialist service providers when specialised knowledge or skills are not available within the Department, or when we need independent audit, monitoring or evaluation for certain projects.
Irish Aid engages the services of external specialist service providers where specialised knowledge and/or skills are not available within the Department or where independent appraisal, audit, monitoring and evaluation are required.
The skills we seek are usually in the areas of:
As a Government Department, we must comply with public procurement rules, which regulate the awarding of public contracts for the purchase of goods, services or works.
The procurement method is always determined by the total estimated value of expenditure for any given consultancy assignment.
Supplies or services (including professional services) for less than €5,000 are bought on the basis of verbal and email quotes from one or more competitive suppliers.
Services contracts worth between €5,001 and €25,000 are awarded according to responses to requirements/specifications sent by email to at least three service providers.
For all tenders worth more than €25,000, tender notices are published on e-tenders, giving electronic access to all Irish public sector procurement opportunities.
Tenders are evaluated by independent committees made up of Irish Aid staff with the technical knowledge relevant to the services required.
We award contracts on the basis of the ‘most economically advantageous tender’ (MEAT). We use this method because technical quality is vital for all consultancy engagements. Along with price, factors such as methodology, the consultants’ experience and expertise and technical merit are taken into account.
Consensus among the independent evaluation team is necessary before awarding the contract. After evaluation, the contract goes to the tender that is the least expensive and classified as ‘most technically compliant’.
Procurement practices are subject to strict accountability. They are open to audit and scrutiny by both internal audit (link to Accountability) and the Comptroller and Auditor General. Accounting Officers are publicly accountable for compliance with all relevant EU and national regulations.
Irish Aid contracts are also subject to scrutiny through Parliamentary Questions and Freedom of Information requests.