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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Procurement reform needs to address both necessity and sufficiency of procurement regime

EU members urged to devise strategies for public procurement reform
The European Commission is calling on member states to design comprehensive medium-term strategies to reform their public procurement systems. Joaquim Nunes de Almeida, director of public procurement, DG internal market and services at the European Commission, explained, “In the European Commission we are mature enough to have understood that having transposed correctly a legal framework is certainly a necessary, but certainly not a sufficient, step to achieve a correct desirable functioning of a public procurement system. The work is unfortunately much more complicated than simply to transpose European legislation in a formally correct way.”

There are also plans to develop a policy to promote the “professionalisation of buyers,” Nunes de Almeida announced. “Public procurement is not perceived as a strategic function but as an administrative clerical exercise focused on legal compliance,” he said. “We need market intelligence, business skills and a focus on skills to become the heart of public purchasing.”

The conference heard the Commission is looking into introducing policy to tackle corruption in purchasing too. “Fraud and malpractice is an ongoing threat for governments as they undermine cities and companies trust in public authorities,” said Nunes de Almeida. “We are considering the possibility of developing a more effective and proactive policy on public procurement. Initiatives that may be considered include setting clear rules for the protection of whistleblowers, [and making use of] IT tools and indicators for better monitoring the procurement process.”

He added there is “still a lot to be done to build efficient and pragmatic solutions” for everyone involved in public procurement.

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