Public Procurement & Architecture Design Contest Workgroup: Results of the ACE Public Procurement survey


The survey ran for over a year and elicited responses from 26 countries (out of 31). At the time of writing, responses were outstanding from EL, LUX, SK, UK and SRB;

General impact – was mixed. Many said the new Directive had made no change or had had no positive impact. However, there were exceptions – e.g. IT welcomed anti-corruption measures, SI reported greater precision in their rules / guidelines for competitions and CZ reported that there were generally more competitions;

2017 review – there had been little consultation on the 2017 review and few issues were highlighted other than the on-going difficult experienced by SMEs in accessing PP markets;

Procedures – few Member Organisations had data on the various procedures used – Open, Restricted, Competitive w/ negotiation, Competitive Dialogue – though a number were able to provide more detailed information on ADCs;

Design & Build - was confirmed as a growing trend, even though some said that there was a fundamental incompatibility between the functions of Architect & Contract – and the combination of these was expressly forbidden in Belgium;

Innovation Partnerships and Framework Agreements – little data was reported;

SME Access – views were mixed as to whether lower thresholds would facilitate greater SME access to PP; past experience is still a barrier and support was expressed for the ACE position of 5-10 years, rather than 3 years. The Division of contracts into Lots was generally felt to be helpful to SMEs, but views were mixed on the utility of the 2008 European Code of Best Practice;

E-Procurement - was positively evaluated in most cases, but the European Single Procurement Document was mostly found to be difficult to use. Moreover, the E-Certis repository for certificates and the Procurement Passport were not well known;

Awarding criteria – while MEAT was welcomed, many awards were still made on the basis of lowest cost. Also, weighting ratios varied and Life-Cycle Costing was not frequently used;

Remedies – public complaints boards exist in most countries and offer redress. Professional bodies may act in AT, BG, DK, FR and NO – and the work group has recommended that ACE advocate to extend this. The BAIK is lobbying for a system designed to legitimise applications;

Public Procurement Package – few National Procurement Strategies were reported – and consequently there was little coordination of national / regional procurement, little sharing of best practice, few national support centres, and little centralised purchasing or cross-border procurement

Issues for the future

  • Develop a Glossary (common language)
  • Conduct more detailed research into the number / type of ADCs and analyse the cost of taking part in ADCs
  • Advocate for improved SME access to PP
  • Advocate to allow for references covering a longer period
  • Advocate for simplification of the ESPD
  • Advocate for the inclusion of quality considerations in assessment/awarding criteria
  • Develop further guidance on Procurement rules
  • Develop Complaints’ competence for MOs.
  • Create an online Procurement Observatory and invite MOs to up-date their entries every six months
  • Assist with moves to professionalise commissioning authorities

The group is also considering a list of detailed recommendations for change submitted by the Bulgarian members of the group.

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