New EU Regulations allow early engagement — Public Spend Matters Europe Post

We launched our new website, Public Spend Matters Europe (PSME) in September, and we hope some of our regular readers visit that site and find the material there enjoyable and interesting. Some of the articles we publish on that site would we think be of particular interest to Spend Matters UK/Europe readers, so we are going to start featuring short tasters here with a link to PSME if you want to read the whole piece.

That doesn't mean a reduction in the number of articles on Spend Matters UK; still three free-to-read posts a day, plus any from our subscription services PRO and Plus, as well as the PSME tasters – and here is the first of those. 

New EU Regulations allow early engagement – but buyers must still be careful (part 1)

Engaging with suppliers before the beginning of a formal procurement process has for many years been seen as normal in the private sector. For any case where the requirement is complex, or the market is uncertain, or there are a range of possible solutions, then talking to potential suppliers early in the process can help.

But many public sector professionals have been nervous about this “market engagement,” because it runs the risk that later on, other potential suppliers might claim that the process was unfair that they were not also “engaged.” If the supplier winning the contract was one that was involved in the engagement, then others would claim that this gave the winner an unfair advantage.

The new EU Directives try hard to make public procurement more flexible and in some ways more like a private sector model. So for instance, the new “Innovation Partnership” and the “competitive procedure with negotiation” both aim to allow more flexibility to develop ideas with suppliers. Also, article 40 in the Directives makes it absolutely clear for the first time that early engagement is acceptable under EU regulations. However, that comes with a note of caution.

If you would like to know more, you can continue reading here at Public Spend Matters Europe.

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