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The Public Administration Electronic Market: the future of public procurement

March 2018 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Villata, Degli Esposti e Associati.

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The Public Administration Electronic Market is a digital marketplace, created in 2002 and managed by Consip S.p.A., the Italian central purchasing body, on behalf of the Ministry of the Economy and Finance. Through the Ministry, registered authorities can purchase goods and services offered by suppliers that have been vetted and authorised to post their catalogues on the system for values below the European threshold.

This system of purchase of goods, services and maintenance works is part of the public contracts because the purchaser is the Public Administration; it changes the purchasing system but not the subjects.

The Public Administration Electronic Market is part of the eProcurement, namely the procurement of goods, services and maintenance works through new telematic procedures and it is a Business to Government (B2G) tool as the offer consists of companies that sell goods or provide services to the Public Administration.

The advantages of a system such as the Public Administration Electronic Market and, in general, of the eProcurement are so numerous that the European Commission, during the Interministerial Conference on eGovernment "Transforming Public Services" in 2005, stressed the need of the Public Administration to provide quality services designed on the needs of users. In this context, eProcurement has been recognized as one of the priority objectives [1].

The legislator sets out the electronic market as "a purchasing and bargaining tool that allows electronic purchases for amounts below the threshold European level based on a system that implements procedures for the selection of the contractor entirely managed electronically" through the letter bbbb) of paragraph 1 of article 3 of Legislative Decree 50 of 2016, the Code of public contracts.

The article 36 of the same Code deals with contracts below the threshold: the most interesting aspect is that paragraph 6 provides that they can also be carried out through the electronic market tool and that "the Ministry of Economy and Finance, through CONSIP S.p.A. makes the electronic market of public administrations available to the contracting authorities" [2].

The legislator did not deem to bring innovations to the Public Administration Electronic Market; he reconfirmed the law, line of decisions and practice that had been established up to that moment.

The Stability Law of 2016 introduced the possibility to make competitive biddings for maintenance works.

The Public Administration Electronic Market represents the future of public contracts; in fact, the use of eProcurement platforms by economic operators is becoming increasingly frequent. Since 2002 there has been a continuous increase in the use of electronic platforms, both in Italy and abroad, considering the fact that they allow time to be saved, thanks to the simplification of procedures in the purchase of goods, services and maintenance works without sacrificing the need for transparency, which is fundamental in the field of public contracts [3].

There is complete transparency in eProcurement electronic systems. This is the case due to the publication of all the documents that can be easily consulted, excepting the reserved ones. Another significant aspect is that the Public Administration Electronic Market also allows small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to participate in numerous competitive biddings, with positive effects on the economy.

This system allows public administrations to obtain customised products through their own tools, while, at the same time, pursuing significant savings in public spending. The purchase procedures on the Public Administration Electronic Market, entirely dematerialised, have a positive impact on the environment. In conclusion, through the Public Administration Electronic Market in Italy and the various European eProcurement systems, the need for speed, transparency, simplification and containment of public spending, once considered divergent, are now combined, allowing the purchase of different products according to the requirements of the Public Administration.

 

Endnotes:

[1]BERTINI - VIDONI, Il Mercato Elettronico della Pubblica Amministrazione - MEPA, Scenario, funzionalitĂ  e linee di tendenza, in Quaderni Consip VI, 2007

[2] See the Legislative Decree No. 50 of 18 April 2016

[3]CONSIP S.P.A., I numeri del programma - Anni precedenti, acquistinretepa.it