Public Procurement accounts for a very large proportion of the EU Single Market. Purchases or tendering is carried out both by individual public institutions, through semi-public sectors, and often through organisations or partnerships specialised in procurement. Both the current and the previous Public Procurement Directives stimulate purchases via purchasing groups or Central Procurement Bodies (CPB). It also encourages procurement of innovative goods and services. Despite the fact that public procurement largely is regulated by EU-legislation, it should be noted that only about 2% of public procurement takes place across borders. This percentage should increase in order to enhance competition and thereby lower the market prices.
In the preparation of tender dossier often the purchaser does not refer to standards but requires customisation of the products or services. An increased use of references to standards may give the market, in particular SME's, more clarity and transparency, thereby providing a better chance to respond within the timeframe of the tender. The overall long-term effect is less competition, higher costs and limited opportunities to test innovative solutions. An increased use of standards could, on the contrary, mean more efficient and transparent procurement processes.
This is the reason why it is important to improve the use of standards in public procurement because referencing standards can reduce costs. To achieve these goals, the development, adoption and use of relevant standards in public procurement is a prerequisite. With the aim to achieve this objective, a specific Action within the Joint Initiative on Standardisation (JIS) has been launched:
CEN/TC 440 ‘Electronic Public Procurement’ is responsible for standardization in the field of e-procurement to support the electronic public procurement processes and their accompanying information flows in the physical and financial supply chain. This is to facilitate end-to-end e-procurement including both Pre-award and Post-award processes for public procurement.
The TC has been granted a specific pilot project by CEN to address “derivative use”, i.e. the possibility to reproduce the contents of CEN/TC 440 deliverables in other materials. A FAQ is available here and a note on the implementation of derivative use is available here.