Public procurement means that an authority or other public enterprise makes large purchases in an organised manner.
The public purchases are regulated by the Public Procurement Act.
According to the act, procurement procedures must be announced in a public database. The databases generally used by the Swedish public sector are Anbudsjournalen (Allego) and OPIC. An exception applies for single tendering of low value.
Types of public procurement
The EU rules on public procurement are only binding for purchases that exceed certain defined threshold values. For the procurement of goods and services, the threshold is set at EUR 387 000. For construction projects, the threshold is EUR 4 850 000.
In Sweden the public sector is organised on three levels:
- Local level - municipalities;
- Regional level - county councils;
- National level - via authorities.
Purchases of goods, services or construction contracts take place regularly at all three levels.
Step by step guide to the procurement process
The procuring department assesses what is needed. The requirements are compiled into a 'call for tenders' document.
In the 'call for tenders' document, the specifications state what the supplier is to quote for, what requirements the ordering body has regarding what the tenderer should do and how the different requirements are to be evaluated in relation to each other.
Notice of procurement
Once prepared, the call for tender becomes public by announcement in procurement journals and databases.
If the value of the procurement exceeds the EU threshold it must be announced in the EU's TED database, and the official journal of the EU (OJEU).
Submission of tenders
The suppliers reply to the call by submitting tenders. Tenders are usually sent by post, but sometimes also by e-mail.
Open competitive tendering
The procuring department shall accept the tender with either the lowest price or the one that is most economically beneficial with regards to price, delivery time, operating costs, quality, function, service, environmental impact, etc.
The company whose tender has been selected is offered a contract or a framework agreement with conditions for concluding subsequent contracts.
The procuring authority must state the reasons for its decision and grant access to the documentation relating to the procurement process.
Public procurement authority
The Swedish Competition Authority (Konkurrensverket) is the authority which oversees procurements policy. It proposes changes to rules and measures designed to eliminate obstacles to effective competition, and it also builds up and disseminates knowledge on competition issues.
There are formal requirements setting out how to reply to tenders. All formalities must be satisfied and a supplier must be able to fulfil what has been promised in the tender.
If your company is selected as a supplier then your tender is made public and can be reviewed by competitors. If you have made a formal error, you may lose the contract if someone appeals against the decision to award it to you.
On the Swedish National Financial Management Authority’s website (Avropa), there is information about procurements and framework agreements taking place as part of coordinated state purchasing.