eProcurement and eInvoicing EU policy: implementation and challenges at regional level
The session was opened and facilitated by Irena Riviere-Osipov (eInvoicing Policy officer from DG GROW).
She noted that public procurement is a core part of public sector activity and provides significant market opportunities for businesses (the European Parliament provides the figure of €2,448 billion or approx. 16% of the 2017 EU GDP). The digitalisation of public procurement processes and adoption of widespread eInvoicing play a significant role in our efforts to ensure environmental sustainability, deliver public sector fiscal savings and maximise efficiency.
This session subsequently included the testimonies of five EU Member State representatives.
- Marc Christopher Schmidt (DG GROW) "Today, emerging technologies are transforming the way public procurement works. Public procurement became Public e-Procurement offering new services, products and more efficient and innovative business models". Within the last three years, the digital capabilities gained in Member States increased considerably, but there is still room for improvement in order to benefit fully from the digitisation of the different procurement phases.
- Kerstin Wiss Holmdahl (Legal adviser, Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR)): "With Information and Communication Technologies and a new way of working we can save money. It gives more resources to the core public activities (i.e. schools, hospitals, elderly care etc. in municipalities)". In response of a survey aiming to evaluate the impact of eProcurement transformation at the sub-central level, 94% of the respondents consider the eInvoicing process as more efficient.
- Declan McCormack (Principal Officer - eInvoicing Ireland Programme and eTenders Platform Project, Office of Government Procurement, Ireland): "Our strategy is to enhance the communication and the collaboration between the government and local levels by minimising the technological dependencies". The Irish office of Government Procurement has set national agreements with selected vendors in order to simplify procurement of compliant solutions of local public entities.
- Ana Ramos (Coordinator - Directorate of shared finacial services, ESPAP - Entidade de Serviços Partilhados da Administração Pública, I.P, Portugal): "The eInvoice is the element that allows us to create a traceability, interoperability, quality data driven integration and further possibilities throughout the eProcurement chain". At local level in Portugal the implementation of eInvoicing strategy gathers four elements: standardisation of processes, adaptation of technologies, elaboration of an eInvoicing programme and good practices, and organisation of a dissemination campaign.
- Justin Jager (Policy Adviser, Ministry of Interior, Netherlands): "Our goal is to maintain monitoring tools and close follow up with local bodies to evaluate the Directive implementation impacts". In the Netherlands, already 95% of the sub-central government has implemented a technical solution, mainly using PEPPOL (online solution for eProcurement).
By listening to these speakers, participants learned the value of European-level coordination in adopting eProcurement and eInvoicing policies. However, each speaker demonstrated that every strategy is unique to that country and its journey to digital transformation.
This journey supports a greener future, optimised public administration, opportunities for innovation and innovative solutions and proactive coordination between the various levels of government.
The Commission supports public administrations who adopt eInvoicing respecting the European standard with the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) eInvoicing Building Block.
Take away message
Each Member State needs to find a solution that would fulfil their local and national needs. The policy context, decision-making, tools, national/local cooperation, onboarding, interoperability need to be addressed and made part of the implementation strategy.
The CEF eInvoicing Building Block supports eInvoicing respecting the European standard. It offers public and private sectors on-site eInvoicing Training; supporting webinars; a User Community hosting online discussions, a Registry of supporting artefacts to implement European standard and a dedicated Conformance Testing Service.