A new CEN standard ensures integrity and accountability in public procurement

CEN/TC 461   ‘Public Procurement’ develops standards in the field of public procurement.  Since its inception in 2019, the TC’s main task has been the development of a new standard, EN 17687: 2022 ‘Public Procurement - Integrity and accountability - Requirements and guidance’, which now has finally seen the light.

In particular, EN 17687 specifies requirements and guidance for buyer organizations, with regards to integrity and accountability throughout the whole public procurement process, from the identification of needs to the delivery of goods, services or work contracts. The document benefits buyer organizations, contributors and decision makers and their staff.


Integrity and accountability are two components of good public governance, including sound financial management, and are closely linked to each other. As intended in the document, integrity refers to the consistent alignment of, and adherence to, agreed ethical values, principles and norms. In other terms, it is not just about being true to oneself, but also about being accountable to key stakeholders and operating in a transparent manner. With regards to the procurement function, it means making sure that it is organised and managed respecting internationally recognised frameworks.


The EU regulatory framework on public procurement and applicable national legislation provide a strong preventative mechanism against the occurrence of potential irregularities. A new generation of EU Directives adopted in 2014 further underline the need for increased integrity and the inclusion of specific rules for situations of conflicts of interest and more stringent requirements on the exclusion of suppliers. However, the main challenge is not a weak or absent regulatory or institutional framework at the member state level, but rather the implementation and practice at the level of contracting authorities and entities. This is where EN 17687 comes into play and provides a welcome innovation.


CEN/TC 461 (whose Secretariat is held by SIS, the Swedish Institute for Standards) developed EN 17867 in the framework of the European Commission's Pilot Project on Increased use of standards in Public Procurement - Output 3 (Integrity and Accountability Standard). The main objective of the project was to deliver a European standard to facilitate integrity and accountability in public procurement.




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