Calls for tenders by the public authorities are regulated in Austria by the Federal Public Procurement Act.
The public procurement laws of the individual provinces are based on this model.
Forms of public procurement
Whether or not calls for tenders are issued on a national or European scale depends on the scope of the contract. If a certain threshold value is exceeded (range above the threshold value), the call for tenders must be issued on a European scale.
If the scope of the contract is smaller than this threshold value, the tender can generally be issued on a national scale. The applicable threshold values can be found in the Federal Act on Public Procurement. The Federal Public Procurement Act stipulates that the following tendering procedures are possible:
- public procedure;
- non-public procedure with/without disclosure;
- negotiated procedure with/without disclosure;
- direct award of contract;
- electronic auction with/without a restriction on participant numbers;
- framework agreement;
- dynamic procurement system;
- competitive dialogue.
The distinguishing features of these individual procedures are set out in Article 25 of the Federal Public Procurement Act.
Tendering: Step-by-step guide
The Federal Act on Public Procurement stipulates that public contracting bodies (e.g. authorities, state or municipal services, public utility companies) must issue public invitations for tenders.
National public procurement bodies
The Federal Procurement Office (BVA) governs calls for tenders issued by the public authorities. As a general rule, all decisions made by the BVA can be contested via the Constitutional Court (VfGH) and the Administrative Court (VwGH).
By submitting a tender, companies confirm that:
- they agree with the terms set out in the contract document;
- they are capable of carrying out the task required;
- they will provide their services as set out in the terms and for the specified prices;
- they will commit to their tender until the end of the acceptance period.
Austrian calls for tenders are usually published in the public bidding section (Lieferanzeiger) of the Wiener Zeitung newspaper. The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber provides an overview of other locations for the publication of invitations for tenders.
Companies can apply to be entered into the list of companies held by the Austrian Register of Tenderers (Auftragnehmerkataster Österreich – ANKO). This provides proof that these companies have the necessary expertise, that they are reliable and that they have the financial, commercial and technical means to carry out certain tasks. Entry into the list saves companies time and money since the data it contains is always available to the contracting bodies online and does not have to be submitted for every procurement procedure.
Any tenders received are assessed at the location and time specified in the invitation for tenders. Depending on the terms of the invitation, the most technically sound and cost-effective tender or the tender with the lowest price will be accepted. All tenderers must be informed about the acceptance decision and provided with a brief outline of the reasoning behind it without delay.
Tenderers that have found a procurement procedure subject to the Federal Public Procurement Act to be unsatisfactory can request that the Federal Procurement Office conducts an investigation.
The Austrian Business Service Portal (USP) provides information about public invitations for tenders in Austria.
The Austrian Register of Tenderers (AKNO) acts as an information interface between contractors and contracting bodies. The contract award portal of the Austrian Register of Tenderers contains all Austrian disclosures made by the Federal Government, the provinces and municipalities, all invitations for tenders from the supplement of the Official Journal of the European Union and selected invitations for tenders from Eastern Europe (e.g. Croatia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Russia).
The Federal Chancellery provides a variety of legal texts and guidelines relating to the law on public procurement.