The Channel logo

News

By | Joe Fay 18th October 2010 13:08

EU pushes gov spending gravy train online

Brussels wants standardised e-procurement

The EU has potentially granted millions of pine trees a stay of execution by launching a consultation on e-procurement for public sector goods and services.

EU spending, together with that of national and local governments and administrations, is of course one of the biggest gravy trains on the planet. The prospect of electronic procurement is the equivalent of moving from boring old paper boarding passes to mobile phone based passes for businesses looking to clamber aboard.

Still, it's unlikely to happen in the immediate future. The Commission has actually just published a "green paper" on proposals for e-procurement, which "will seek the views of interested parties on how the EU can help Member States to speed up and facilitate the procurement process".

Any standardised euro-e-procurement system would be a mammoth undertaking. EU rules demand that public sector contracts above a given size must be open to tender. The Commission said that last year, 150,000 public sector contracts were advertised, accounting for 3 per cent of EU GDP.

The paper outlines obstacles to e-procurement while identifying the risks that would arise if different countries pursue different paths. The Commission argues that a standardised system is needed to prevent national or regional governments putting in place systems that would exclude companies from other countries, for example.

"Our evaluation shows that where it is being used, it increases the speed and efficiency of public purchasing while significantly cutting the costs when participating in tenders. However, we are only at the beginning of a long road," the Commission said in a statement.

No kidding - the EU has been pushing e-procurement since it developed an action plan in 2004. It believes the technology is now in place. The consultation should be finalised next year. Maybe.

With amazing understatement, the Commission suggests the Green Paper "will be of interest to national ministries, large procurement agencies and contracting authorities, providers of technology solutions, procurement specialists in the private and public sector and representatives of business trade associations."

In the meantime, it has unveiled its Certis database, "a free, web-based tool to help companies and contracting organisations cope with the documentation demands encountered when tendering for public contracts in the EU". ®

alert Send corrections

Opinion

Chris Mellor

Drives nails forged with Red Hat iron into VCE's coffin
Sleep Cycle iOS app screenshot

Trevor Pott

Forget big-spending globo biz: it's about the consumer... and he's desperate for a nap
Steve Bennet, ex-Symantec CEO

Chris Mellor

Enormo security firm needs to get serious about acquisitions

Features

Windows 8.1 Update  Storeapps Taskbar
Chinese Buffet self-service
Chopping down the phone tree to scrump low-hanging fruit
An original member of the System/360 family announced in 1964, the Model 50 was the most powerful unit in the medium price range.
Big Blue's big $5bn bet adjusted, modified, reduced, back for more
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Redmond needs to discover the mathematics of trust