Regulaton & Policy
Newswire Weekly – European Public Procurement Update

This is our weekly European public procurement news roundup. We will be bringing you recent public sector stories and information from around Europe’s news portals, reporting on how more than a trillion Euros of taxpayer money is being spent. This will become part of a future initiative to bring you more frequent, online reporting.

Slovak Public Procurement Office finds no violation of public procurement laws in criticised Presidency event

The Slovakian Public Procurement Office has concluded its inspection into whether the Foreign Affairs Ministry met conditions when using an exception from public procurement rules, that applies to sub-limit orders and orders to procure goods and services, linked to the EU Council presidency. The ministry has rejected the accusations.The inspection has not revealed any flaws, but some former employees criticise practices, particularly linked to the opening event of the Slovak presidency, and the procurement of advertisement spots, films and videos. More on this story in The Slovak Spectator.

Nine Latvian companies barred from participation in public procurement for one year

Latvian Public Broadcasting has announced that The Competition Council, a competition watchdog, has fined nine companies a total of €373,083 for price fixing in public tenders to supply video, audio, lighting and stage equipment to public institutions. They have been barred from participation in public procurement for one year. The full story is here. 

EU Fisheries Law needs to be more fully implemented says EC

The European Commission has released a new review of its fisheries control regulation. It was adopted in 2009 but many EU member states still have not yet fully implemented it. The EC found that not all national fisheries authorities use the regulation’s enforcement tools consistently. The regulations for small vessels particularly are being poorly implemented. A ClientEarth lawyer said “If EU countries don’t properly enforce fisheries laws, there won’t be enough fish in the sea. It’s as simple as that.” More details on The Maritime Executive.

Anti-Competitive behaviour inspection launched on Swedish mobile operators

European Commission officials have carried out surprise inspections at the offices of four Swedish telecoms operators, suspected of having breached EU antitrust rules. The most indepth story we have found is on Global Telecoms Business. The operators concerned are: Telia, Tele2, Telenor Sverige and 3 Sweden.

ISO 20400: world’s first international standard for sustainable procurement

A new standard aimed at increasing supply chain transparency has been launched to support sustainable procurement. Any organisation wishing to integrate sustainability into its procurement processes can now adopt the world’s first international standard for sustainable procurement. It has been created with expert input from 40 countries, including the British Standards Institution, It provides guidelines and outlines the sustainability impacts and considerations that should be incorporated across the different aspects of procurement activity. More information can be found on edie.net

Finnish centralised procurement unit says it did not introduce new rules to tender at 11th hour

Slator – Language Industry Intelligence – reported last week that a EUR 37.5m Finnish interpretation contract had been cancelled (again). The Finnish government’s centralised procurement unit cancelled the contract after having announced the winners. According to a source close to the matter, it had cancelled “not even the tender but the whole decision. The reason: vagueness in the quality assessment.” This week, the agency challenged points in the article saying that contrary to criticisms, no new rules were applied to the tender round at the 11th hour. It’s an interesting argument and can be read in full on Slator.

UK’s smaller construction contractors calling for more public work to go their way 

The UK’s Construction Alliance Northeast has launched a Construction Charter highlighting the need for change. It wants public procurement strategy that gives regional SMEs a better chance to compete for contracts in the open market. It crtitcises tightly drawn up selection criteria that exclude local firms and favour the bigger companies. CAN chief executive said that during the recession “the shift in public sector procurement practice resulted in national and large regional framework agreements for publicly funded projects, and many of the region’s long established smaller and medium sized construction firms as well as tier one consultants were locked out.” Given the opportunities for UK construction after Brexit, he says, there is a chance for rules on public procurement strategy to be urgently reviewed. More of this story on Construction Enquirer.