Following today’s publication of the new European Directives on Public Procurement by the Official Journal of the EU (OJEU), leading international e-procurement and e-sourcing platform provider VORTAL has issued an in-depth analysis of the path to mandatory e-tendering. In its white paper, VORTAL outlines the key implications and challenges involved in implementing e-tendering, which all member states have to initiate by 2016 and complete by 2018.

With over 2,000 public authorities already using the VORTAL platform for e-tendering, the company has extensive experience of the requirements, as Miguel Sobral, Vice-President of VORTAL, explains:

“Public authorities typically spend around 18% of GDP in the procurement of works, goods or services, indicating that any initiative that improves this process will have a significant impact in reducing public spending. The EU has indicated that typical savings of between 5-20% can be achieved by applying new technologies to the public procurement processes. In our experience, with over 2,000 public authorities using the VORTAL platform for their tenders, the savings can be considerably greater than this when combined with substantial reductions in administrative overheads and tender management.”

“This is essentially good news, in that it will encourage and support private enterprise to provide e-tendering platforms, for use by the different European Public Administrations. There are numerous success stories that illustrate how the private sector can deliver the tools and expertise to effect an efficient and successful transition. The Directives will also focus attention on a range of related initiatives that will have broader benefits – giving priority to quality, environmental, innovation, and social issues, encouraging public authorities to introduce new systems and processes that will have a beneficial knock-on effect. Only successful tenderers will be required to provide the full documentation, reducing the overall administrative burden by some 80%. This will fundamentally change the culture of public sector purchasing, encouraging more companies to participate in the tendering process and creating greater competition.”

Following today’s publication of the Directives in the OJEU, the official transition period prior to the directives becoming law in each member state commences. In summary, all states must commence the task before the end of the first quarter of 2016, with it becoming mandatory in the same year for all public administrations to communicate with bidders electronically, and to publish all tenders online. In the first quarter of 2017, all central purchasing bodies must have implemented an electronic bidding system that allows offers to be sent and received securely and confidentially. The final step will be applied in the last quarter of 2018, when electronic tendering will become fully mandatory for all public authorities of the EU Member States.

VORTAL’s white paper “The New Directives on Public Procurement and the Dissemination of e-Public Procurement in the EU” is written by Professor Luis Valadares Tavares, IST Lisbon and member of the e-Tendering Expert Group of the European Commission. In it, he sets out the rationale behind the new directives, the main impacts, and the implications for e-platforms. He also reviews the e-public procurement process, and the options for governments in the future.