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Spain

Public contracts

Updated 10/2012

Would you like to be a public authority contractor? In Spain the public authorities spend 13% of Gross Domestic Product acquiring goods, services, performing works and managing public services. Your enterprise could be one of the contractors.

The European Union has laid down a number of common standards for public procurement in the EU. In accordance with these, each country has its own national regulations. The EU is modernising the framework for public procurement to facilitate involvement by small and medium enterprises in public procurement, and to simplify procedures.

Would you like to find out about the contracts to be awarded by public authorities and the procurement process?

You can consult: the online procurement portals of each public authority, the various official gazettes to find out about the contracts to be awarded by public authorities.

Each Autonomous Community (Region) has an online public procurement portal or platform.

Legal requirements

Key features of the public procurement process.

Public authorities, administrations, organisations in the public sector at the State, Autonomous Community (Region) or local level award public contracts to enterprises in order to fulfil their objectives or procure resources.

You could supply these public authorities or contractors. The opportunity is open to enterprises which are: natural or legal persons, entitled to act and subject to no prohibition, with the technical and financial solvency for the specific contract.

In order to facilitate accreditation of these requirements, a characteristics-based enterprise classification system exists to indicate those contracts for which they may bid. This classification is set out in the Register of Classified Enterprises. You would be advised to register. You will need to be registered in order to bid for public contracts above a certain budget.

The enterprises of other EU Member States. They accredit compliance with the above requirements by means of: certificates, registrations and systems established in their own states for this purpose, or other equivalent methods.

Public authorities, administrations and organisations in the public sector. They may award public or private contracts. Public contracts have a specific purpose. These are:  works, public works concessions, public service management, supplies, services, public-private partnerships. They are regulated by public sector law. There are public contracts regulated by specific standards, for example in the case of security or defence.

Public authorities award private contracts for certain purposes. They must be drawn up and awarded in accordance with public sector law. Their enforceability and termination are subject to private law.

 

Administrative procedures

The recruitment procedure is based on principles of equality, publication, transparency, objectivity, competition. It is adapted to the circumstances of each case, the type of object of the contract and its significance. Each case is different.

The procurement procedure may be ordinary, urgent or emergency in certain exceptional cases. Specific circumstances apply to minor contracts which, because of the limited budget involved, have a brief official procedure.

The procurement procedure takes place in the following phases: preparation of the contract by the public authority, award or selection of the enterprise which is to perform it, formalisation or signature of the contract, execution and termination.

The preparation of the contract is performed by the procurement body. This involves: a memorandum explaining the need for the public organisation. The object of the contract fulfilling this need. The dossiers of administrative conditions establish the legal and economic aspects of the contract; the technical provisions to be fulfilled by the object of the contract. A certificate guarantees the existence of the budgetary allotment to pay the enterprise contracted. Oversight and approval by the internal public authority body scrutinising revenue and expenditure, in other words the Public Audit Office. The procurement file will also include: Reasons explaining the procedure chosen to select the enterprise to be contracted, and the objective criteria to be applied in the selection. The various types of public contract which may require supplementary actions, for example works projects.

The standards require publication of the contract and the selection of the enterprise to be contracted. Publication requirements vary depending on the contracting authority, the type, characteristics and budget of the contract. Depending on the case in question, publication will be in the Official Journal of the European Union, the Official State Gazette, the official gazette of the various public authorities or their websites. Spanish public authorities are obliged to have on their website a "Procurement Profile" section presenting information about public contracts.

In the enterprise selection phase or award. To select the enterprise to be contracted. Various procedures are employed depending on the case in question: open, restricted, negotiated, competitive and project-based.

The enterprises involved in the procurement process demonstrate they fulfil the requirements laid down in terms of capacity, economic and technical solvency for that specific contract. They submit their proposals or bids. The public authority establishes that the enterprises fulfil the requirements for that specific contract. It assesses the proposals or bids presented by the various enterprises. It selects the enterprise to be contracted on the basis of objective criteria. Depending on the type and object of the contract, consideration is given to the bid price, or otherwise the characteristics of the proposal overall.

Following selection of the enterprise to be contracted, the contract is formalised and signed in writing.

During execution or performance of the contract, the public authority will perform supervision. There may be a temporary suspension or the contract could be definitively terminated in those cases provided in the regulations. This could give rise to compensation for the injured contractual party.

Upon conclusion of the object of the contract, for example the works, or receipt of the goods or service, handover occurs, in other words the formal act by means of which the object of the contract is transferred to the public authority, which registers its satisfaction. Following approval by the internal public authority body controlling public expenditure, the Public Audit Office. Handover is then followed by payment to the enterprise.

In order to: free up the provision of goods, services and works to public authorities, save money, be more effective and efficient, there are special procurement procedures: framework agreements, dynamic procurement and a system for the selection of enterprises and central procurement authorities.

The central procurement system is the most significant. This is used to acquire goods, services and works typically used by most units of the public authorities. One single public authority body establishes the goods and services subject to centralised procurement, selects the enterprises and arranges the contracts. Other institutions, departments and bodies, if they have a need for these goods, request them from the centralised procurement body, which obtains them from the enterprises.

Any possible disagreements or disputes regarding public contracts allow the parties involved to file a claim with the public authority. These appeals are settled by a body belonging to the "Contractual Appeals Tribunal". The authority's decisions can subsequently be challenged before the competent public law courts. In the case of private contracts, their enforceability will be considered by the courts responsible for private law.

Public sector organisations subject to private sector law may have recourse to arbitration to settle differences regarding public procurement.

Resources

Would you like to generate profits? Have you considered it? You could supply public authorities in 41 countries of the world.

You could supply any public authority of the European Union. Each year public authorities spend 18% of European Union GDP on: goods, services and works. Your enterprise could take advantage of these opportunities.

The European Union has laid down a number of common standards for public procurement in the EU. In accordance with these, each country has its own national regulations. The EU is modernising the framework for public procurement to facilitate involvement by small and medium enterprises in public procurement and to simplify procedures, underpin public ethics and achieve other goals.

Help & advice

Help & advice

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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