Procurement in the Education and Training Sector

Procurement arrangements within the Education and Training Sector are being developed as part of the Public Service Reform Programme being led by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP). Opportunities to gain better value for money arise from centralised contracts and frameworks developed by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP).

How the Procurement Reform Programme is organised

In December 2012, Paul Quinn was appointed as Chief Procurement Officer for the Public Service. Paul is now leading on procurement reform across the public service and has established a new office, the Office of Government Procurement (OGP).  The OGP will undertake all public sector procurement in the future with public sector bodies drawing from frameworks and contracts which it puts in place.

Further Information

Procurement in the School Sector

The Schools Procurement Unit has information and advice on procurement opportunities and how to benefit from these centralised arrangements. The Schools Procurement Unit (SPU) acts as the central coordinating function for procurement for all schools in the primary sector, all voluntary secondary schools, special schools and schools in the Community and Comprehensive (C&C) sector (including special schools and excluding schools under the remit of ETBs).

The Schools Procurement Unit’s Guidance for Schools on Good Procurement Practices is available here:

Information is also available on the SPU website. See for details.

Schools managed by Education and Training Boards (ETB) should contact ETB Head Quarters for advice on procurement.
Information is also available from ETBI – see contact details.

Procurement in the Higher Education sector

The Education Procurement Service (EPS)

Under the Government’s programme of public procurement reform, the Education Procurement Service (EPS) is Education Sourcing Hub for the Education and Training Sector. The EPS, on behalf of Higher Education sector partners, runs procurement competitions for common goods and services and represents HE sector partners on competitions run by the OGP. The EPS also acts as the central coordination unit for the HE sector, promotes centralised procurement as well as delivering a sourcing function for laboratory, agriculture, veterinary and library goods and services, and aggregates demand for tenders and informs the sector on the progress of the procurement reform programme. The EPS also acts as the liaison between the OGP and Higher Education Institutions and provides advice and guidance to a network of finance officers and procurement officers within that sector.

Regular briefings are provided to accounting officers and stakeholders within the sector to promote the Government’s centralised procurement model, and to inform and update all HEIs. All institutions are required to use centralised arrangements in the first instance. If the OGP is unable to provide the necessary procurement support, the institution may approach the EPS to have the sourcing process undertaken. The EPS actively monitors the e-tenders website and contacts organisations who advertise tenders for products or services that should be sourced through the new model, including education specific laboratory equipment such as research equipment..

Higher Education Procurement Summit 2018

As part of the continuing efforts to improve procurement compliance across the Higher Education sector, the EPS, in conjunction with the Higher Education Authority (HEA) holds an annual Procurement Summit for the sector. The April 2018 summit was particularly noteworthy as it provided delegates with a Corporate Procurement Plan pack, which included Corporate Procurement Plan templates for HEIs as well as advice and guidance on completing Multi-Annual Procurement Plans. Documents and presentations from the Summit are available here:  

Copies of the Corporate Procurement Pack are also available below: