The European Single Procurement Document (ESPD), which aims to simplify the tendering process for EU public contracts for authorities and suppliers, has been formally adopted by the European Commission (EC).
Small and medium-sized enterprises in particular are expected to benefit from the system, designed to reduce the administrative burden on companies when presenting their eligibility to bid for contracts.
The Public Procurement Directive 2014, which requires EU member governments to reduce red tape, improve supplier management and split out large contracts to encourage SMEs to bid, also obliged the EC to develop the ESPD – a standard form to enable companies to self-declare that they qualify to bid for public contracts.
It will replace the current system, which differs among member states. “While some countries have already introduced some form of a self-declaration of suitability, others require all interested parties to provide full documentary evidence of their suitability, financial status and abilities,” said an EC statement.
The ESPD will allow all businesses to electronically self-declare that they meet the necessary regulatory criteria or commercial capability requirements for a contract, via a free, web-based system which the EC is developing.
Only the winning company will need to submit all the documentation which proves that it qualifies for the contract.
“By reducing the volume of documents needed, the European Single Procurement Document will make it easier for companies to take part in public award procedures. Public administrations will benefit from a wider range of offers ensuring better quality and value for money,” said Elżbieta Bieńkowska, commissioner responsible for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs.
EU states must transpose the Public Procurement Directive by a deadline of April 2016.