Introduction to ESPD (European Single Procurement Document) - Europe is only in a starting phase.

Among others, both Denmark, Germany and Sweden severely criticized the ESPD- form, both on the supplier-and buyer’s side.
Introduction to ESPD (European Single Procurement Document) - Europe is only in a starting phase.

 

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The EU is requesting an early check on the member country’s use of ESPD and the integration with relevant databases for required documentation requested in the ESDP form. A conducted survey provided results that are still vague – not everyone has taken the new directives into use, several are still using paper version, and in general, ESPD is just starting to be taken into use. However, the established online guide to ESPD is very popular. For instance, in January this year, more than 4000 unique Norwegian users have used the guide.

In regards to the adoption of the three public procurement directives by the EU-system, a survey related to the practical execution of ESPD was requested. The ESPD-form was considered innovative and would particularly look at the relationship of the technical development of databases in the member countries.

No later than April 18th 2017, the results of such a survey should be available to the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers. Until April 2018, it is also permitted to use the ESPD form in a paper version.

 

Popular user guide

By 10 February 2017, 10 member countries have yet to make the directives into national legislation. This resulted in a vaguer basis for the survey than first anticipated. However, it appears that the interest in the user guide established by the EU for the ESPD-service has become very popular. Out of 30 countries registered as users, Norway is for instance on 7th place of most registered users. 4147 unique users are registered in Norway in January 2017. Denmark is at the top of Nordic users with about 11 300 unique users.

During the survey, 22 of the member countries had implemented the ESPD-form. The paper version is still used by more than 80 % of the member countries that have started using the ESPD-form. This makes the simplification potential exploited only marginally - a potential that promotes digitization of the public procurement processes.

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Below EU/EEA threshold values.

The ESPD-form can as well be applied below EU/EEA threshold value or in a situation of a concession contract. The survey found that 61 % of the member countries are planning to implement the form only for tenders above threshold value. However, several of the member countries have the opposite strategy. This involves making the ESPD-form mandatory to use below threshold values. In a few member countries it will be voluntary to use the ESPD-form below the threshold value.

Two out of three member countries are planning to integrate the ESPD form into a database or an IT pre-qualification system for suppliers. The member countries were asked about the possibility of integrating the ESPD form with IT systems relevant to retrieve information that should be included in the ESPD-form. 11 of the member countries did not have the possibility. 11 other countries have direct access to relevant national databases where documentation of suppliers can be obtained. In this case, it indicates that the implementation of the “only once” principle has been initiated to reduce the administrative burden of all affected parties.

 

Gains by using ESPD

Some member countries made an estimate of the effect of ESPD. Denmark reported 12 million euros/year for suppliers. Croatia estimated an 83 % reduction of suppliers costs in preparing their offerings regarding documentation. Among others, Denmark, Germany, and Spain were also reported that the ESPD form was severely criticized by purchasers as well as contractors. 

 

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This article first appeard at Anbud365, Norway’s leading online newspaper for public procurement. Published by Lennart Hovland on June 2017. You can read the original article here in Norwegian.

 

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