Public procurement policy

Part of: Housing Association Guide, Procurement Guide

In order to receive Housing Association Grant all housing associations are required to comply with NI Public Procurement Policy.

Board of Management

The Association’s Board of Management is responsible for ensuring that:

  • the Association’s procurement policies include the delivery of best value for money
  • the organisation, management and methods of procurement used by the Association have been authorised by the Board
  • Associations’ overall procurement processes and the appropriateness and use of any delegated functions are monitored and reviewed
  • the relative merits of alternative methods of procurement in terms of value and risk are regularly reviewed by the Association

Public procurement policy and procurement guidance notes

At its meeting on16th May 2002, the Northern Ireland Executive agreed to a revised Public Procurement Policy for Northern Ireland Departments, their Agencies, non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs) and Public Corporations.  A copy of the NI Public Procurement Policy,  Version 11 August 2014 may be accessed at NI Public Procurement Policy – Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) 

As a condition of receiving Housing Association Grant housing associations are required to comply with NI Public Procurement Policy.

The Executive agreed that the Policy should be guided by a clear definition of “public procurement” and adopted the following definition: “Public procurement is the process of the acquisition, usually by means of a contractual arrangement after public competition, of goods. services and works and other supplies by the public service”

At that time the former Executive also agreed the concept of “Best Value for Money”.  This definition was revised and endorsed by the Executive in March 2011. It is now defined as: “the most advantageous combination of cost, quality and sustainability to meet customer requirements”

In this context, cost means consideration of the whole life cost; quality means meeting a specification which is fit for purpose and sufficient to meet the customer’s requirements; and sustainability means economic, social and environmental benefits, considered in the business case, in support of the Programme for Government.

12 Principles of Public Procurement

The achievement of Best Value for Money is governed by adherence to the 12 Principles of Public Procurement, which are as follows:

  • Accountability
  • Competitive Supply
  • Consistency
  • Effectiveness
  • Efficiency
  • Fair-dealing
  • Integration
  • Integrity
  • Informed decision-making
  • Legality
  • Responsiveness
  • Transparency

Further guidance in relation to evidencing Best Value for Money and satisfying the 12 principles may be found in Northern Ireland Public Procurement Policy document (Version 11, issued August 2014).

Procurement guidance notes

Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) is responsible for disseminating advice and guidance to the NI public sector on public procurement policies, determined by the Procurement Board, and monitoring their implementation. This it does through the production of Procurement Guidance Notes (PGNs).

PGNs are the administrative means by which the NI Public Sector is advised of procurement policy and best practice developments. They are developed by CPD, in consultation with CoPEs, including NIHE as CoPE for social housing, and are subject to the approval of the Procurement Board. Once endorsed by the Procurement Board, CPD issues PGNs to Departments for implementation, copies PGNs to CoPEs and lists them on the CPD website.  At this stage the Department will advise PGs / Associations of their publication and expects PGs / Associations, without undue delay, to comply with the new guidance.

There may however be occasions when a new PGN may not be completely workable by PGs / Associations.  In this event, the Department, in conjunction with the CoPE, will consider representations from PGs / Associations in relation to substantive points raised. Following discussion the Department, in conjunction with the CoPE, will decide on the most appropriate course of action. In addition, any approved deviation from the new PGN must be approved by an Association’s Accounting Officer.  

To ensure full compliance, PGs should regularly consult the CoPE on the detailed implementation of PGNs.

The PGN’s are updated regularly by CPD and PGs/ Associations should always refer to the CPD website for the latest versions. The full suite of Procurement Guidance Notes, as developed by CPD, may be accessed at:

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