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Public procurement news: sacrifices to be made by contracting authorities and suppliers

Public procurement news: sacrifices to be made by contracting authorities and suppliers

30.3.2012 16:19

Public contracting authorities are newly obliged to make a preliminary notification of both above-limit and below-limit public contracts. A public contracting authority is not entitled to commence a public tender until one month after the notification is made. The notification must include a justification for the public contract. The contracting authority need not provide a preliminary notification in certain cases, including: a simplified below-limit tender, in certain uses of the negotiated procedure with publication and in cases where the contracting authority cancelled a previous tender because only one bid was submitted. In the case of sector contracting authorities, the regulation of preliminary notifications remains, in principle, unchanged.

An entirely new obligation relating to a so-called “summary publication” has also been introduced. This requires a contracting authority to publish, within a defined deadline, the entire public contract, including any amendments to it (note: this also applies to small-scale public contracts with a value exceeding CZK 500,000), the amount of the price actually paid for performing the public contract and a list of sub-contractors to whom the contracting authority paid more than 10% of the total price of the contract (in the case of contracts with a term of several years, the price of the contract paid for the preceding calendar year must be set out). A public contracting authority is obliged to publish such information on its public profile. The structure of the published data is set forth in an implementing regulation. This, however, has not yet been issued.

Another new obligation is that, within three working days following the day of publication of the announcement of the commencement of a public tender, or the day on which a call for the commencement of a public tender is published on its public profile, a public contracting authority must publish a justification for the public contract. The contracting authority is obliged to publish such a justification for both above- and below-limit contracts. The contracting authority’s justification must include the fitness for purpose of the public contract and the appropriateness of the requirements constituting technical qualification criteria. It must also specify relevant commercial and technical conditions, the main and partial evaluation criteria and the method of evaluation of offers, all in relation to the needs of the contracting authority.

In the case of “major” public contracts, the justification must also include a justification of the anticipated value of the public contract and must be approved by the relevant governing body. The justification obligation does not apply to contracts awarded in simplified below-limit tenders or in certain uses of the negotiated procedures with publication. In relation to the extent of the justification, an implementing regulation should also be issued, which, again, has not yet been done.

The above-mentioned measures are certainly welcome, even though contracting authorities are not required to fulfill them until the relevant implementing regulations are issued. What I would personally like to know is exactly how the public contracts will be published. I can imagine that many contracting authorities and suppliers will dislike this measure, since the contents of the contracts reflect their business policies, which for obvious reasons they would prefer not to disclose. On the other hand, it is a sacrifice made in the interests of transparency. Whether the sacrifice is sufficient or excessive is a question yet to be answered.

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