EU-funded innovation guide launched for public sector buyers

25 June 2014

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26 June 2014 | Anna Scott

A guide to public procurement of innovation (PPI) has been published by an EU-funded body to increase knowledge of the concept.

Enabling the suppliers’ market to be made aware of the public sector’s specific needs – such as socially beneficial solutions that reduce impact on the environment – PPI encourages businesses to develop and test innovative products, which suppliers can benefit from.

The online and printed guide has been developed by the Public Procurement of Innovation Platform project for stakeholders already involved in PPI and those looking to improve their procurement activities.

It is based on the latest EU procurement directive, and outlines explanations of procedures, definitions, answers to common questions about PPI and case studies.

“In a time of decreasing public budgets, innovation can facilitate the delivery of vital infrastructure and services,” said Antonio Tajani, vice president of the European Commission.

“It is of the utmost importance, therefore, that public procurers can effectively engage in PPI. This guide will empower procurers to create a more efficient, sustainable and modern Europe.”

Public procurement in the EU is estimated to total €2 trillion (£1.6 trillion) per year, equating to 19 per cent of European GDP. However, many public authorities and businesses in Europe require support to tackle the less well known elements within the process that can be used to facilitate innovation. 

“Europe has an enormous and as yet overlooked opportunity to spur innovation using procurement,” said Mark Hidson, coordinator of the PPI Platform Project and deputy regional director of ICLEI – Local Government for Sustainability, a movement of cities and local governments aimed at promoting global sustainability. “Moreover, public procurement of innovative products and services are vital for improving the quality and efficiency of public services at a time of budget constraints.”

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