Public Spend Matters Europe – Highlights from this Week

Here is our Friday run down of  what we have published for you this week on our site dedicated to exciting and fascinating matters connected with European public sector procurement. And before you even think about switching off ... around Europe, we are talking about well over a trillion Euros of money from taxpayers and citizens being spent by government and public sector bodies of some sort. Worth doing well, you might consider.

Anyway, here are summaries of our features this week – do click though and read the full articles.

To Lot or Not To Lot - Confusion Over Procurement Rules

The EU Procurement Directive says this: “To that end and to enhance competition, contracting authorities should in particular be encouraged to divide large contracts into lots ... Contracting authorities may decide to award a contract in the form of separate lots and may determine the size and subject-matter of such lots ... Contracting authorities shall provide an indication of the main reasons for their decision not to subdivide into lots, which shall be included in the procurement documents or the report referred to in regulation 84(1).” Not exactly a mandate to divide into Lots you might think from those words. But what is interesting is how different contracting authorities interpret this.

EU Public Authorities Can Learn from UK’s G-Cloud Model for Procuring IT Services

European public authorities may take some inspiration from the UK’s G-Cloud model as they seek to overhaul how they procure IT services. The UK’s G-Cloud consists of framework agreements with suppliers, and allows public sector bodies to search for services covered by the G-Cloud frameworks. These include Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (Paas), Software as a Service (Saas), and consultancy services. Some European public organisations are looking to emulate what the UK has done. The Head of the European Science Cloud initiative, which aims to establish a continent-wide cloud infrastructure, said that G-Cloud has given the initiative guidance on how they should approach procurement.

Pioneering Use of “Big Data” Could Indicate Corruption Risk in Public Procurement

Another in our coverage of The Public Procurement Podcasts, Dr Pedro Telles interviews Dr Mihaly Fazekas, a research associate at the Department of Sociology of the University of Cambridgre, in a fascinating discussion about measuring corruption in public procurement. Dr Mihaly acknowledges that collecting data on corruption in public procurement is challenging, and therefore we must collect it “indirectly” by developing proxies. These proxies are indicators of corruption risk based on the characteristics of companies, contracting entities, and procurement processes. He highlights an interesting link that his project, Digiwhist, has found between particular companies winning contracts and the political parties in power at the time.

A Single European Defence Force - Likely Procurement Issues (if it ever happens!) Parts 1 and 2

In recent weeks, some observers of current military challenges have called for more military co-operation across Europe, and there has even been some renewed talk of an EU Defence Force. National budgets are under pressure with "austerity" in most countries, so the idea of sharing resources and looking for some economies of scale is very attractive, albeit at a superficial level. But if we moved towards a pan-European / EU military force, that would presumably mean moving towards a coordinated approach to procurement too. But how might a EU wide or even just continental EU military procurement operation work? We discuss the issues in two parts.

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