Sector News
Denmark Wins Secretariat to Standardise Public eProcurement in the EU

Danish Standards, the national standardisation organisation in Denmark, reported that it, and the Danish Agency for Digitisation, established to speed up and drive the digitisation processes to modernise the Danish public sector, have secured the task of setting the framework for a common European electronic procurement (eProcurement) process.

A kick-off meeting will take place on June 17-18 to determine how Denmark will drive the standardisation process of digitising public procurement across the EU. It will be partly funded by the Danish Ministry of Business and Growth, the Danish Agency for Digitisation, with contributions from the national standards organisations of Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The coordination with the other Nordic countries paths the way for future interoperability between public and private businesses when digitisation is fully integrated across the Nordic borders.

Danish Standards says: “Digitising of procurement processes should be based on common international standards and open source to ensure the exchange of data of new electronic systems in all phases from invitations to tender to awards of public contracts and procurement. This will form the basis of increased competition and transparency to the benefit of Danish and foreign tenderers who will gain the benefit of reduced transaction costs.”

And the Danish Agency for Digitisation says: “Each municipality, region and central government authority will need to transform completely its way of performing administrative duties, and the major transformation of Danish society needs to be communicated in a way that ensures citizens and companies are made aware of the new reality and feel comfortable and secure with it. The digital transformation is therefore based on unique cooperation across the public sector.”

Denmark sees about DKK 300 billion in annual public procurement turnover so savings potential is very large. Danish developers and suppliers of procurement systems to both the private and public sector could benefit greatly from Denmark’s involvement. Said Jesper Jerlang, Director of Standardisation of Danish Standards: “Participants of the standardisation work will gain early insight into and the ability to influence the development of the standards that will set the framework for a rapidly growing international market for procurement systems in the coming years.”

Lars Frelle-Petersen, Director General of the Danish Agency for Digitisation said:  “Denmark has gained good experience with systems based on open standards and open source. Especially on the invoicing area, public authorities have reached various efficiency gains in the handling of the more than 18 million electronic invoices that are processed annually. Accordingly, e-procurement is a natural next step. By heading the standardisation work in Denmark, the Danish conditions to influence all the other e-processes to be standardised will favourable.”

Denmark succesfully implemented eInvoicing in the public sector in 2005, well ahead of most of Europe, and made it mandatory that all invoices to the public sector be sent electronically. Driving integrated eProcurement in the public sector means the whole end-to-end process from procurement to invoice and payment will be digital for the 150+ governmental institutions. The transition to eProcurement will be challenging, particularly for SMEs, but it is just as important for them to be able to deal with eCommerce as it is for larger organisations competing for public sector work.

With Denmark having a say in international standards, there should also be more opportunity for Danish businesses to gain more global trade.