The Public Administration Electronic Market: the future of public procurement

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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, funzionalità 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

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