If you have taken part in a public tender and feel that you have been discriminated against, or you noticed irregularities in the procedure, you have several possibilities to seek redress.
Anybody who has submitted an offer in a public tender has the right to ask for a review of the whole procedure. EU countries can require that you should first ask for a review by the public authority that ran the procedure - in this case your request for a review will immediately suspend the contracting procedure.
When an independent body is examining your review request, the public authority cannot conclude the contract before the end of the review.
You must have at least 10 days from the day when you received a rejection decision via fax or e-mail (15 days if the decision was sent by post) to ask for a review. This is the standstill period during which the public authority cannot conclude the contract.
There is no standstill period when:
- no prior publication of the contract notice was required
- the sole tenderer was awarded the contract
- the contract was based on a framework agreement.
The independent review body will declare an already awarded contract ineffective if:
- the public authority awarded a contract without prior publication of the contract notice when publication was required
- unsuccessful tenderers were given no opportunity to seek redress (for example standstill period not respected)
- there is evidence of discrimination against the rejected bidders.
If you want a procedure to be reviewed and possibly declared ineffective, you must have at least 30 calendar days (this period can be set at maximum 6 months) after the publication of the contract award notice to inform the review body.
In certain EU countries a contract might still remain valid even if the review body finds irregularities and would ordinarily declare the contract ineffective - for example when the review body considers it to be in the general public interest that the contract be maintained. In such cases alternative penalties (such as a fine) should be imposed on the public authority, or the duration of the contract may be shortened.
Help from the European Public Procurement Network
The European Public Procurement Network (PPN) works to improve the enforcement of procurement rules through an exchange of experience between procurement experts and through effective informal cooperation, including informal problem-solving in cross-border cases. The European Commission has observer status in the PPN and supports its activities.
If you have taken part in a foreign public tender and feel that you have been discriminated against, or you suspect an irregularity, you can seek help from the PPN by contacting your own PPN contact point.
Your PPN contact will get into touch with the PPN contact point in the country where you participated in the tender. That PPN contact point will clarify your issue with the public authority in question.
If this informal and free procedure does not solve your problem, you can bring your case before the courts in the country concerned. If you think that the country has infringed EU law, you can lodge a complaint with the European Commission. PPN contacts can advise about these procedures.
Submitting a complaint to your PPN contact will not suspend the award procedure. This is important to bear in mind if you want to seek compulsory interim measures to address alleged infringements.