Regulated public procurement

The new Act on Public Contracts came into force at the beginning of 2017. The purpose of the reformation of the procurement legislation was to simplify procurement practices, use public funds more efficiently, improve SMEs chances of participating in bidding competitions, and promote the consideration of corporate responsibility and innovation in procurement.

The new Act on Public Contracts has improved the flexibility of procurement practices to an extent, by making it possible to define tenders, facilitating the use of the dynamic procurement system and simplifying negotiation practices, for example. On the other hand, the use of the ESPD form and the checking of the extracts from criminal records have increased the administrative burden of both procurement units and tenderers.

In addition, the new Act on Public Contracts includes certain complicated transition period arrangements, such as the conflict of law rules that apply to internal tendering processes for framework agreements. By the end of 2017, the new Act on Public Contracts was applied in the Market Court in only about 30 cases, so the application practices have not been established yet.

Changes to the Hansel Act

The government proposal regarding changes to the Hansel Act (HE 63/2017 vp) was submitted to Parliament in June 2017. The proposal suggests that regions and their procurement units be added to Hansel’s customer base. The change in legislation is connected to the ongoing health, social services, and regional government reform.

The government proposal also suggests that the processing of procurement information be included in Hansel’s task and that Hansel be provided review rights to the procurement information of government procurement units. In addition, the government proposes that Hansel be provided with the opportunity to participate in international central procurement as provided in the Act on Public Contracts.

The proposal has been discussed in Parliament’s Commerce Committee, but the process is now pending the coming into force of the freedom of choice decree and the processing of the regional legislation in Parliament.