Public procurement

Public Procurement can be defined as the acquisition, whether under formal contract or not, of works, supplies and services by public bodies. It ranges from the purchase of routine supplies or services to formal tendering and placing contracts for large infrastructural projects.

Key Principles

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 Environmental Protection Agency, a less formal procedure is appropriate.

  • Supplies or services less than €5,000 in value may be purchased on the basis of verbal quotes from one or more competitive suppliers.
  • Supplies or services between €5,000 and €25,000 in value may be awarded on the basis of responses to specifications sent by fax or email to at least three suppliers or service providers.
  • Supplies or services between €25,000 and €221,000 in value, must engage the full competitive process.  Tender documents are produced and published on the eTenders website.
  • Supplies or services in excess of €221,000 in value, must comply with the full range of EU regulations.  Tender documents are produced and published on both eTenders website and the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

Current tender opportunities

Find out about currently current open tenders