A key principle of public procurement is that the function is discharged honestly, fairly, and in a manner that secures best value for public money. Contracting authorities must be cost-effective and efficient in the use of resources while upholding the highest standards of probity and integrity. Procurement practices are subject to audit and scrutiny under the Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Act 1993 and accounting officers are publicly accountable for expenditure incurred.
It is a basic principle of public procurement that a competitive process should be used unless there are justifiably exceptional circumstances. The type of competitive process can vary depending on the size and characteristics of the contract to be awarded.
For contracts or purchases below the EU threshold value currently set at €221,000 for public bodies such as the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority, a less formal procedure is appropriate.
- €500-€2,000 – Verbal quotes from competitive suppliers or written quotation sought
- €2,000-€4,999 – More than one written quotation required
- €5,000-€24,999 – Direct tender invitations to suitable suppliers, generally not published on eTenders website
- €25,000+ - Request for Tenders will be published on the eTenders website
- €221,000+ - Request for Tenders will also be published in the Official Journal of the European Union through the eTenders website
- The SFPA reserves its rights under the regulations to make of existing public contracts available to it for the purposes of procuring goods or services
- On rare occasions where a sole supplier is available for a particular item, a single source procurement may occur