26 June 2011 | Adam Leach
The laws governing public procurement in the European Union (EU)
are causing slow tendering processes and barring SMEs’ access to contracts,
according to EU procurement professionals.
was the view of the majority of the 620 stakeholders who gave their opinions in
the European Commission (EC)’s Evaluation Report: Impact and Effectivenessof EU Public Procurement Legislation published on Friday (24 June).
The report said that while EU procurement legislation was
effective at promoting transparency and competition – the current directives’
focus on increasing competition has saved public sector bodies €20 billion (£17.7
billion) so far – the level of bureaucracy within the directives was holding
Evidence from the report found a unanimous desire to see the
amount of bureaucracy reduced in order to make negotiation procedures more
flexible and cut the amount of paperwork in tendering. This increased
flexibility was raised as particularly important with regard to supporting SMEs
that currently struggle to handle the amount of red tape in bidding processes.
The report also raised concerns that the number of
procedures and amount of paperwork caused significant problems. The results
found that the average EU tendering process takes 108 days and costs €28,000
(£24,850), of which 75 per cent comes from the cost of preparing tenders. In
addition, it found that the worst performing member states take three times
longer than the best.
The findings from the
report, and those of the EU’s green paper on modernising EU public procurement to
which stakeholders were responding, will be discussed at an EC debate in
Brussels on 30 June.